Mobile payments – it sounds like a great idea. But when you have to create four new passwords to get past the security, is it any wonder I made a muppet of myself in the Which? Money podcast?
‘Come and test out the O2 Wallet in the podcast,’ he said. ‘It’ll be easy and fun,’ he said. ‘He’ is deputy Money editor Gareth Shaw, who made it sound like a simple affair. If only.
O2 Wallet is another one of those mobile payment apps, like Barclays Pingit, that lets you text money to your mates. It promises to be a handy little service, which should be faster than tugging a fiver out of your pocket and handing it over to them. But there are hurdles to jump over…
As easy as 1, 5, 8, 9, 7…
Installing the app was a cinch, but after picking a four-digit passcode came the registration process. You don’t have to be an O2 customer to use the app, but you do need an O2 account created through O2’s website. Since this is a bit fiddly to do on my phone, I turned on my laptop, typed in my details and picked a password.
I then had to set up an O2 Wallet account with its own password. The passwords didn’t stop there, with a ‘Pay Password’ to approve payments. That’s a passcode, O2 password, Wallet password and Pay password. Creating them all put my head in a muddle (to say the least).
The process got even more convoluted – you have to add your bank account and your card. These processes came with their own ‘verification’, ‘activation’ and ‘security’ codes (I’m not joking) to confirm everything’s fine and dandy. As you can imagine, these codes pushed an already confused Paddy into an even more confused one.
Finally, O2 popped two small payments into my bank account (eg. 4p and 7p). A few days later (they take up to five working days) I typed in them in and the app was raring to go. Phew.
‘We’ve had to block your O2 Money Account’
And so there I was, sitting in my podcast chair, ready to text a fiver to Gareth ‘live’ on air.
‘Please enter the 2nd, 6th and 8th characters of your Pay password’. Tap, tap, tap… ‘the Pay Password you entered isn’t right. Please check and have another go’. Tap… tap… tap… ‘have another go…’ ‘OK, so it must be this password,’ I mused. Here goes… tap, tap, slip!
I had hit the wrong character. There’s no option to clear characters as the app automatically accepts the first three digits. Then came the dreaded text – ‘we’ve had to block your O2 Money Account’. Fail. You can listen to this excruciating moment in this week’s Money podcast. And though there’s much of my own stupidity sprinkled on this tale, I don’t think I can be expected to remember four new passwords, let alone which one’s which.
As soon as the podcast ended, my head hanging in shame, I rang up O2’s admittedly helpful and cheerful customer services. She talked me through resetting my password(s) (even this involved using my computer and my phone) and helped me send a payment. A fiver arrived in Gareth’s ‘wallet’ successfully, and was kindly sent back within minutes.
There’s another sting in this tale – if you’re not with O2 you’re given an 0844 number to call customer services. My call took about 20 minutes, which costs £1.15 from a BT landline, £2.46 from an Orange pay-monthly mobile and a whopping £8 from a PAYG Orange mobile.
Thankfully I called from my landline, but it cost me a fifth of that £5 to take part in Gareth’s experiment. Still, O2’s Wallet could be a boon for mobile payments, as Gareth explains:
‘O2 has a bit of work to do to get its virtual wallet right but, teething problems aside, I think it’s a great innovation. You can shop, get special offers, and scan barcodes to find the cheapest prices online. I really think this is the future.’
I’m sorry O2. I didn’t mean to forget my password in the podcast, but as much as security is incredibly important, you didn’t exactly make it easy for me.