This year Chase Health Advance, a medical and dental financing service, decided to update their website to make it “better than ever”. In the process, they created easily the worst Web experience I have had from a professional organization this year, possibly ever. A nifty byproduct of upgrading the site was that they broke automated payments and forced customers to set up payments all over again from scratch. This caused many payments to fail and accounts to go late, mine included. A phone call later, I got the late payments straightened out and let them know that the new site was so bad that I felt embarrassed for them.

I had seriously considered just paying the balance in full rather than put up with the site, but I trudged through the painful new online payment process and got my account set up for recurring payments. Or so I thought. Today I received a statement in the mail informing me that I am 2 months past due. How could this happen? Again?? Upon closer inspection of the e-payment setup process I discovered the problem: the form only asks for checking account number once. Unlike nearly every other electronic payment form, they didn’t provide two account number fields to be checked against each other for accuracy.

Chase asks for checking account number only once. A big mistake.

My payments never went through because I had transposed 2 numbers in the 10 digit string that is my account number. As a result, my account is past due and I now owe $25 in late fees. Could I have been more careful entering my number? Absolutely. But it’s common for users to enter 10 digit account numbers incorrectly. The form should account for this. When asking for a long, complex number like checking account, always have the user type it in twice, the same as they would for a password. That way, transposed numbers are easily discovered, you get paid, and your customers don’t flame you on the Web.