Friday, August 14, 2015

Re: Korea's Broken Internet

Before coming to Korea, I did a bunch of research reading blogs and watching videos made by people who have lived in Korea or are currently living in Korea.  I wanted to get a feel for things that I should expect and a better understanding of certain things that might be surprising.  One video-blog post was from the Eat Your Kimchi crew and it was about Korea's "Broken Internet" (March 2014). In a nutshell, Simon and Martina were talking about how to use Internet banking, you had to use a windows computer and download a bi-jillion programs and that the whole process was not super nice.

After going through the process to set up my Internet banking this week, I can see what they are talking about.  So far, that has been the hardest, most frustrating thing that I had to do--for a few reasons.

First, I had to use Internet Explorer (initially).  I tried both Chrome and Firefox but I couldn't get the security programs to install.  IE was dis-activated on my computer so that was a few minutes trying to figure out where it went and turning it back on.  But it worked and I got the security programs installed.

However, it was still not smooth.  The banking site has an English setting for foreigners like me who need it.  You click on the right buttons and start filling in the online forms to activate your Internet banking--should be simple.  Until you get to the one asking you your address.  Then it wants it in the Korean characters.  I tried the English in a few different ways and it wouldn't accept.  Normally, probably wouldn't be a problem, but Korea has recently changed it's address system and my school's web page hadn't yet updated its (and my) address.  Luckily my friend Jenny could type in the right address and help me out.

You might think it got smooth, but that would be easy.  I would get to the address step or the step right after and IE would crash.  The website would just kick me out and I had to start all over from scratch.  I wasn't sure if it was a time thing or if it was some other trigger, but I tried to complete my certificate 5+ times before giving up for a moment.  It had now been over an hour of me trying to get my banking online.  I was frustrated and close to tears--but I wouldn't let the system beat me.  It would be conquered.

I decided to give Firefox another go.  Now that the security programs were installed in my computer, the web browser recognized them and I was able to complete the forms with only 1 or 2 crashes before I had success.

The whole process took me nearly 2 hours when it should have been 10-15 minutes top.  I really hope that now that I can log on to the system the actual "banking" goes smoothly.  I suppose I'll find out in the future.

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