User Experience Rants – MBNA

Image showing MBNA logo with customer services number.

Something as simple as txt message notifications should not be difficult. So when MBNA confusing me by sending new messages, different to the usual notifications, I called customer services. The experience and response I received made me more angry and worthy of this post.

It started with a new txt message from MBNA rather than the usual anonymous 83838 number so I took notice. “We are due to receive a payment of £1234.56 from your bank. If there are no restrictions on MBNA card ending 1234 the payment value is available to spend”. (I’ve changed the numbers for obvious reason). This did not make sense. Why were they telling me they were due a payment? Had I forgotten to pay? I usually set up an online payment in advance so I double checked and yes, it had been made.

So I called MBNA. After the frustration of being misunderstood by their automated voice response system I got through to customer services. Why have your txt notifications changed and what does it mean? I enquired. I was told MBNA are now part of a new bank and they are taking the opportunity to improve communication! Really? I ask the advisor what exactly “We are due to receive a payment from your bank…” meant. Well, we have received a payment from your bank and it’s due to be credited to your account. Okay, so why not say that I ask? It’s the same thing he says.

How can “We are due to receive” and “We have received” be the same thing I say. The first is a call to action for me to respond as I think I’ve missed a payment. How many people start off thinking there’s been a problem and pay twice I wondered. The second is a confirmation that my payment has been received, I’m reassured no action needed. It’s simple clear language, surely?

I raise it as a complaint. I’m put on hold. After ten minutes of calming music the call is terminated. I receive another helpful txt message. This one says” Sorry your call was cut off unexpectedly. To discuss and progress further, please contact us on 03456 062062 stating Resolve 11234567 cut off. I call the number. The AVR asks why I’m calling and I say Resolve 11234567 cut off. It then asks again why I’m calling. It seems the AVR does not understand. So I just say hash hash. And after a while I get to talk with customer services. A call centre once told me that pressing ## cancels you out of AVR systems and it seems to work. When I get to customer services they don’t know anything about my previous call so I repeat my sorry story.

“Is there anything else I can help you with?” they ask. Well I noticed the other txt message I get says “A payment of £25 is due on your MBNA credit card ending 1234 by 04/03/19. For more information, check your latest statement or log in to” Why is the amount always £25 and not the full amount needed to pay as listed on the statement? Well it’s the minimum payment you must make, he tells me. But why does it not say, A minimum payment is due on your account? Or A payment of £123.45 is due…? “Data protection”, I’m told “we can’t send you your actual balance as that’s not allowed under DPR”. Okay, so why do did you tell me how much you were due to receive from my bank then? I ask. Silence.

Could it be that £25 is what MBNA want me to pay so that I incur the highest debt and pay the high credit charge for the longest period? Maybe I’m too cynical but that’s the main reason I can think of for the poor UX design and awful user experience. MBNA you should rethink how you treat your customers. I’m looking for a new card provider.