foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world

The 'Verified by Visa' fiasco ... courtesy of ANZ

, posted: 20-Jun-2008 09:59

Update:  I have received a response e-mail from ANZ in the meantime, which I have discussed here...

I am writing this to share some information with you, which might be relevant for anyone with a Visa card issued by ANZ here in New Zealand, and who is attempting to purchase something online.

As you may know, Visa recently rolled out the 'Verified by Visa' programme. It attempts to 'pre-verify' your credit card. It works like this: You provide some more detailed information about the card, and also specify a personalised greeting message and password. For some banks you can go to a specific page on their web site and do that, in other cases you will be prompted for this the next time you make a purchase. Once this information has been entered you will see this greeting message and can enter the password when you attempt to purchase something from a participating merchant.

This is an interesting approach. On one hand, it provides some additional assurance that you are really the rightful owner of the card, and on the other hand, it also shows you that you are not at a phishing site, since you can see and verify the personal greeting message you had originally entered.

Anyway, so far so good. What's the problem then?

Well, not all banks participate in the programme. Bank of New Zealand does, for example. ANZ does as well. The problem with ANZ? It is an Australian company. However, “Verified by Visa” is not available to ANZ's New Zealand customers yet! So, what happens when you attempt to purchase something at a participating merchant with your New Zealand issued ANZ Visa card? You get this:


A useless Verified by Visa dialog courtesy of ANZ


Can you spot all the things that are wrong with this picture? Well? Right! Firstly, we are here in New Zealand. We don't have SSNs (Social Security Numbers). Secondly, the “Personal Message” is not so personal after all: “Welcome”. I never specified that! Look a bit further up and see that apparently I have been 'pre-enrolled'. Someone else set this all up for me already? But the whole security is based on me providing this information!

Yeah, so this doesn't work. As it turns out, you can skip over this three times, which I promptly did when I saw it the first few times. But after that you will have to fill out the dialog. And if you can't provide the correct information (whatever that may be in this case) you will not be able to complete your purchase.

ANZ New Zealand customer support staff knows a little bit about this problem, but not very much yet. First they suggested I just enter '0000' as the SSN (apparently that worked for some). It didn't for me. Then they suggested the last four digits of my credit card number. Didn't work either. Finally, they suggested I call Visa in the US. So, I did.

The US customer support person there was very nice and tried to help, I have to say, but in the end to no avail. She ended up calling ANZ in Australia and got in contact with their 'Internet banking guy'. In the end, she connected me to him, which is quite funny: I call from New Zealand to the US and get connected back to Australia. Anyway, the 'Internet banking guy' couldn't help. He transferred me to their 'credit card department'. The person there had never even heard of Verified by Visa! Great, thank you, that was helpful.

Finally I called ANZ in New Zealand again. The person this time was finally able to shed some more light on the matter and tell me that ANZ hadn't made this available for their NZ customers yet. But ANZ as a whole has enrolled and so Visa presents the 'Verified by...' dialog. Apparently, what we see is some default information, since nothing really has been set up here for NZ customers yet.

I was also told by the NZ staff of ANZ that they are just now getting the information about it, she acknowledged again that there have been problems reported about this already, but that there is really absolutely nothing they can do for me a this time. Once they have it all set up for their NZ customers, they will send out notification in mail, but she could not tell me when that will be.

So, after more than one hour (!) on the phone, most of the time just having to repeatedly listen to proclamations of how important my call is for them, which is why they let me wait, there is still no solution, just a shrug of the shoulders. In the meantime? Use another credit card if you have one. That's really all you can do as an ANZ customer in New Zealand at this time.

Thank you ANZ for screwing this up for your New Zealand customers, nicely done.


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Comment by freitasm, on 20-Jun-2008 10:37

And have you cancelled this shit card yet?

Author's note by foobar, on 20-Jun-2008 10:47

@freitasm: No, I'm a sucker for their frequent flyer miles...

Comment by simon, on 20-Jun-2008 13:11

When I log in to the ANZ online banking (Australia) from Linux, I always get a page that the servers are busy and I should try later.

When I log in from Windows, it works all the time.

Do you get that from ANZ as well?

Author's note by foobar, on 20-Jun-2008 13:23

@simon: No, actually, I don't get the problem. But then, I am logging in to, not the Australian variety. I just tried the Australian site and it just told me that my customer number is incorrect (no surprise, since I am with the NZ branch of ANZ).

Comment by kinsten, on 20-Jun-2008 14:08

Isn't the fault between Visa & ANZ New Zealand? Not to mention the all over powering 'Internal Miscommunication' trend that sites with almost every business I have worked for/with?

Does sound anoying however, and I am even more glad to have a MC instead of Visa.

Author's note by foobar, on 20-Jun-2008 14:31

@kinsten: I was lucky that I had another credit card, issued from another bank. It was also a Visa, but it worked flawlessly, since that bank apparently had not signed up to participate in the "Verified by..." scheme.

From what I was told, ANZ (the main branch in Australia) had signed up for the programme, but apparently didn't think or know that once they do that, the verification system would kick in for all their customers. The ANZ New Zealand people seem to have been cought off guard by this, and I also don't see this to be Visa's fault either.

As I see it: ANZ is at fault for not setting it up for their New Zealand customers so far.

In the meantime, ANZ will loose money, which is what they rightly deserve. But with NZ being so small, it sadly won't hurt them as much as it should. Especially since this only applies to those who are in New Zealand and shop online at participating merchants.

Comment by adamj, on 21-Jun-2008 12:34

ANZ also has branches in Fiji. I wonder how it will affect ANZ customers there.

I have one account with ANZ, but don't do any regular banking with them. Every experience I have had with them has been disgustingly bad. I probably should close that account. NBNZ and ASB all the way.

Comment by Scott, on 5-Sep-2008 22:44

You say NBNZ all the way, but remember they're owned by ANZ National, so the profit from NBNZ still goes to ANZ lol.

Comment by Jo, on 7-Nov-2008 22:31

I'm facing the exact same problem so i'm trying to think of alternatives for buying things online that require 'verified by visa' cards. Do you think those prepaid visa cards would work at all?

Comment by Dean, on 11-Mar-2014 12:37

I know this thread is nearly 4 years old but I am still unable to pass the ANZ verified by Visa process and I'm an Australian customer of ANZLuckily, this system is not used by all vendors but it pisses me off when, once again, I have to go and find my Mastercard (Non ANZ) to be able to complete transactions.I also contacted ANZ but they couldn't give me an answer. It's a great security initiative though, NO ONE can use my card, not even me.Dean

Comment by Tom, on 8-Apr-2014 20:46

I just tried to make an online purchase.  After entering all my details, I get a screen similar to the one shown above.  I am not enrolled in Verified By Visa, so this screen is urging me to enrol.  Now, you would think that there would be some way to decline the offer, so that I could continue with the purchase.But no!!  The only button on the page is labelled "Enrol Now".  Unbelievable.  It seems that I have no choice but to "enrol now".  What if I don't want to "enrol now"?  Incredible.So I reload the page.  Not a smart thing to do, really, when you're in the middle of a transaction, but incredibly, this time, the "Verified By Visa" screen now gives an "Enrol Later" button.So, I press the "Enrol Later" button, then get a message saying the transaction could not be completed.  Surprise, surprise.So I go back to the very beginning and try the whole process all over again.  This time, the "Verified By Visa" page does not give me the "enrol later" button.  I reload the page 10 times but never see the "enrol later" button.I give up.  I will have to find another way to make the purchase.  What a shambles.  Incredible.  Hopeless, ANZ.  Hopeless.

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New Zealand

  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
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