Last month I wrote about whether it still makes sense to have your checking account with BankDirect, the online bank that awards American Airlines miles every month and offers a rich signup bonus.
It may not as an investment vehicle earning miles instead of interest, but I argued it makes a lot of sense for people with big checking account balances, e.g. if you’re receiving big expense reimbursements and just holding the cash until your credit cards are due.
I’ve been a BankDirect customer since July 2003, fifteen years ago this month, and I have earned a ton of miles as a result. I’ve stuck with them through all of the limits on mileage-earning, through their addition of a monthly fee regardless of minimum balance with the bank, but they may have just pushed me too far with a security protocol change.
- They use two factor authentication. IF they don’t know the device you’re using, your username and password isn’t enough. You’ve been able to get a code texted or emailed to you for the second sign-on piece.
- As of Tuesday July 17 they will no longer send you an email with a token to sign in when they don’t recognize your computer. They will now only provide these single use codes by voice call or text.
As part of our continuous efforts to deter online fraud and theft, we are making a change to our single-use Secure Access Codes (temporary codes you use when you log in to your account from an unrecognized computer or mobile device).
Due to the rise in identity theft and fraudulent transactions attempted by email, effective July 17, 2018, BankDirect will no longer send Secure Access Codes by email.
Secure Access Codes will still be delivered through your phone via voice call or text, so it is important that we have up to date contact information.
If you use a local SIM card when you travel internationally, you don’t have a new phone number to give them until you’re abroad. But you can’t sign in to update your account.
You can call BankDirect, or email them and have them call you, but that only works during their business hours which is little help when you’re in a time zone on the other side of the world.
And telephone-only codes are of no help when you’re inflight.
If I can’t access my account when it’s convenient for me, the bank isn’t very useful.