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Did Bank of America just say 'fuck you' to one of its customers?

Bank of America and its CAPTCHA were in a bad mood on Thursday.

Bank of America and its CAPTCHA were in a bad mood on Thursday. Twitter

Know that moment when you're already in a hurry trying to log in to (and out of) an online account, and suddenly you're being challenged to prove that you're actually a human, and not a robot?

Insulting, isn't it?

Know this: It could be worse. The test to prove you're you, and not a bit of programmed software, could also take the added step of literally cursing at you. 

Emily Allen learned as much on Thursday, as she attempted to sign in to her Bank of America account to check her balance. As she got done typing in her name and password, Allen was asked to "complete an additional security step." 

This security step is commonly called a CAPTCHA, an acronym standing for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart."

And for some reason, on Thursday, Bank of America's CAPTCHA was just so rude to Emily Allen.

The inclusion of that first letter, the 'y,' does add a layer of complexity to the phrase. 

Is it saying: "Why? Fuck you," as if Allen should just leave Bank of America's online banking system alone for a minute? 

Or is it: "Why, fuck you!" as if Bank of America were some haughtily indignant and slightly tipsy high-society type?

Or, perhaps worst of all, was this customer's bank asking her: "Why fuck you?" 

Allen charitably chose not to take it personally. "I thought it was funny," says Allen, who happens to work as a software quality assurance engineer in the Twin Cities. 

Her experience in that field leads Allen to think this decidedly R-rated CAPTCHA was not a message directed at her, or even a developer's practical joke, and was nothing more than a randomly generated set of letters. It's probably an accident that "could have been avoided," says Allen, who observes Bank of America (or the third-party service responsible for its customer login experience) could elect to "filter out certain words or letter combinations," to prevent instances such as this from happening.

Reached for comment, a Bank of America spokesperson said, "We meant what we said. Fuck you, Emily Allen." 

Kidding! They've not responded to City Pages' request for comment (or Allen's @ing of the Bank of America account in her original tweet) but we'll update this story if and when they do.

UPDATE: City Pages heard back from an (actual) Bank of America spokesperson Friday afternoon, who says the bank does use CAPTCHA "in some instances," and that, as Emily Allen suspected, it's just a "random use" of letters and numbers. "The code wasn't intentional," the spokesperson continued, "and we're adding a profanity check."