Explorer or Nothing

by David Czepanski Apr 10, 2006

We struck a problem the other day. I’m not sure if there’s an answer to this problem and even if there is, I’m not sure that I am going to like what the answer is.

We’re all aware that the number of online services available to us is huge and continues to grow. Let me count the ways; Auction sites, bill payments, public library searches, car registration, shopping, TV guides and of course other general information. Last night we ordered pizza using the internet for crying out loud!!

If you can think of it, there’s probably a way to do it online. If there’s not, you should go out there and set it up right now because if you do it right, there’s every chance that you’ll do very well for yourself. Just look at Sam Morgan.

We love online banking and really miss it when we don’t have it. So here’s the problem; one of the banks we use requires Internet Explorer to log on.

Fine, but Microsoft stopped developing IE for the Mac in 2003 and stopped supporting it altogether earlier this year. From the look of things, there’s no download link on their site so it seems pretty final.

We didn’t mind that too much because we stopped using IE as soon as other OS X alternatives came out. I prefer Firefox when I have to use XP and Camino, Opera, Mozilla and Safari on OS X are all fine applications.

But IE is not fine as far as logging on to our internet banking site goes. Believe me when I say that I have tried (many) other browsers and none of them fool the web site.

So here are some of the alternatives;

- use a different platform for banking
- change banks
- complain to the bank and hope that something gets done about it
- fudge something so that it works (Virtual PC?)

If we had an Intel Mac, we could now load Windows on it, and boot into XP to do banking.

We don’t own an Macintel, nor a copy of XP and even if we did, I don’t just don’t trust XP and certainly not Explorer with the task of internet banking.

Change banks?? That will cost a swag of money and since other online banking sites work with other browsers, we kind of figure that we should mention making some sort of change to the bank and see what they say.

I think that they’ll say, “Fat chance, Mac boy”.

Which leaves us with…. Fudge something.

I’m not sure where we’ll go from here. But it seems that we are not alone in this frustration. Some web site content management systems require you to use IE and I am certain that there other sites that do likewise. I am sure that many of you have your own stories to tell.

Is there a parallel in any other part of life where your choices are narrowed in such a way? Must I drive a Ford on certain roads? Wear Nike’s when walking on certain streets? If I was using XP, I could use my browser of choice; as long as it was IE.

Tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, security all wrapped up in a good looking and useable interface….

Too much to ask?


  • I had that problem when Safari first came out and sent a very nice letter to the bank.  I explained that I preferred to avoid IE as it is full of security holes - even it the bank used strong encryption.  Then I mentioned that it might be interesting for them to get some demographics on Mac users - noting that if you remove the enterprise market the Macs had a significantly higher users base and these users were willing to pay more than the cheap Dells - just the type of market they desired.  I thought about mentioning that using IE was like having unprotected sex in a Calcutta whorehouse, but decided against that.  Got a nice letter back indicating that they were working on it and they did fix the problem.  Now days you can also mention that FireFox is over 10% of the market, even without stripping out the enterprise section. 

    If they don’t take care of their problem (and it IS their problem) then I would be looking for a different bank.  There are a lot of smaller banks that would be happy to have you and might even match your current deal.

    MacKen had this to say on Apr 10, 2006 Posts: 88
  • SAFARI ENHANCER gives you access to Safari’s hidden DEBUG menu, which allows you to change USER AGENT to “Windows MSIE 6.0”—have you tried this?

    ChrisLong had this to say on Apr 10, 2006 Posts: 1
  • David, the mere IDEA of someone who makes a hefty profit of my money EACH AND EVERY DAY basically for DOING NEXT TO NOTHING coming along and making it a hassle for me to get access to the little service I want, possibly even forcing me into the lovely Calcutta whorehouse scenario MacKen painted, is so abysmally ridiculous that I have no words for it.
    Call your personal customer service banking clerk or whatever their title is these days and explain to them kindly but in very clear words that you are taking your precious money elsewhere unless they make their service accessible.
    My attitude towards any site requiring IE is the same as towards the ones offering content in win-media formats only - they just don’t want my hits.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Apr 10, 2006 Posts: 371
  • ChrisLong, while that may work it clearly sends out the wrong message. Requiring IE for banking is not acceptable.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Apr 10, 2006 Posts: 371
  • If you use Camino, you can “make believe” the site you visit that you are using Intrenet Explorer for Mac.  It works for me on a site that requires Explorer.


    J-F had this to say on Apr 10, 2006 Posts: 9
  • You can also tell Shiira to work undercover as a IE User Agent. This feature is not hidden, see the Advanced preferences panel.

    hitoro had this to say on Apr 10, 2006 Posts: 12
  • Thanks for all the work around advice - some I know but others are new to me…..

    While there may be an answer to the problem in all of this, I have to agree with Bad Beaver; it sends out the wrong message. A letter to the bank is preferable and then go from there.

    To be honest we’d happily leave any bank over something like this (if they refused to budge) but there’s slim pickings over here and so people tend to put up with such things.

    Nice to see that others feel the same!

    David Czepanski had this to say on Apr 10, 2006 Posts: 25
  • The answer, of course, is to change banks.  That’s how things get changed in the business world.  People vote with their wallets. 

    It doesn’t matter that the Mac only has a 3% (5%?) marketshare.  If 3% of a companies customers say “we’re leaving because you’ve ignored us” they’ll stand up and pay attention.  3% could equal millions of dollars.

    Don’t put up with it.  Move to a bank that does cater to your needs.  In 2006 there is No Good Reason for a bank, or any other business, to require Internet Explorer.

    bomalley had this to say on Apr 10, 2006 Posts: 4
  • David, I’v heard broadband is impossibly overpriced too. It is time for New Zealand to stand up against corporate oppression! wink

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Apr 11, 2006 Posts: 371
  • Opera 8.54 will do “IE emulation” as well. But I agree in principle that threatening to change banks is the first and best thing.


    tao51nyc had this to say on Apr 11, 2006 Posts: 45
  • Phone customer service and offer to re-develop their site so it will work for Macs & Firefox free of charge. They’ll politely decline your offer. This is when you scream, “WHAT DO YOU WANT!? BLOOD?!!” And thus they will go along and fix the problem.

    ...okay, that’s never worked for me. I had to switch banks. That did work for me.
    If you’re not getting what you need from your bank, then you got one that can.

    Btu it is a shame that you say there isn’t much choice in NZ. That’s where I can’t help you :(

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on Apr 15, 2006 Posts: 299
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