Decisions, decisions, decisions…
Online banking is great – I would certainly find financial management a complete pain in the ass without it.
That having been said, online banking, at least as offered by AIB, but probably most of the rest of the banking sector in Ireland and the rest of the world still falls a long way short, and has failed to deliver many of the latest web technology developments to its users.
For example, why can’t I…
- …get an electronic version of my bank records? Many of the large US banks have been exporting Quicken QIF formatted files for a long time. Or better yet, how about OFX files. Or failing either of those, a simple CSV or Excel file. ANYTHING!
- …see all of my records, going back to when the account was opened? AIB online banking typically only goes back a month or two (depending on the type of account). OK, records that are only available on microfiche might be excused, but everything that’s on the mainframe in the mothership should be available at relatively little expense.
- …search my records for particular types of transactions, payees, etc.? Indexing documents such as these should be trivial in today’s world.
- …filter the transactions that I’m shown online? Just show me lodgments from my employer; payments I’ve made to the ESB, and so on
- …set up and manage simple rules. For example, when my current account balance falls below €500, transfer money from my deposit account?
- …set up secure RSS/Atom feeds for each account that would publish a record for each new transaction?
- …share certain accounts with named individuals (the wife)? On second thoughts, maybe that’s not such a hot idea.
Does anybody know of a bank that offers some or all of these services?
I came across this article from Adam Howell by way of Daring Fireball. In essence, the post is saying that Pixish, the target of Adam’s ire, is a glorified forum for spec work, which apparently is a bad thing. To quote:
AIGA believes that doing speculative work seriously compromises the quality of work that clients are entitled to and also violates a tacit, long-standing ethical standard in the communication design profession worldwide.
And it probably causes cancer too.
This argument is very similar post I read a year or two ago (which unfortunately Google can’t seem to find for me) arguing that the bargin stock photo sites (e.g. iStockphoto) are killing the professional
stock photography market, by letting amateurs sell their work for a fraction of the price that the pros can or will.
In both cases, you have to just say boo-hoo. This the is the free market in operation. If you don’t like it, tough – find another line of work. Marketplaces such as iStockphoto, Pixish and many, many others allow pros and amateurs to compete for work and income on a level playing field. If the amateurs can’t deliver the goods, then the marketplace will seek out the pros, and pay pro-level prices. These websites would ultimately end up as failures. But the success of iStockphoto, Elance and the like demonstrates that there’s a huge market for such services. Buyers want them, and pros and amateurs alike are happy to meet that demand.
The net changes everything, and professionals who were comfortable and cozy in their own environment now find that they’re competing against the rest of the world, and don’t like the experience.
In his recent post, Derek Powazek gives the most appropriate response:
…if you think an assignment isn’t worth your time, don’t do it!