Suntrust online banking errors are a feature, not bug

Ten days ago, I passed along a working link to a signup page for the Suntrust Delta Skymiles World Check Card. When I shared that link, I had just called the number on that page to open a "balanced banking" account over the phone.

Today, my account is finally up and running, and I wanted to share the timeline for opening new accounts in case anyone else is as confused by it as I was.

Wednesday, April 9

10 days ago I:

  • Called and opened a "balanced banking" account over the phone;
  • Was told to wait for a "signature card" to arrive in the mail, sign it, and mail it back in the provided envelop;
  • Was given an online banking "password" to configure my online profile;
  • Set up an online username and password;
  • But was unable to log into my new account. Instead, I received an error stating that "This service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later."

Monday, April 14

On Monday:

  • I received, signed, and mailed back my signature card;
  • I was still unable to log into Suntrust's online banking.

Tuesday, April 15

On Tuesday:

  • I received my Delta Skymiles World Check card;
  • I was still unable to log into Suntrust's online banking;
  • And I was unable to call into their phone system for help, because that required my PIN number, which I hadn't yet received.

Thursday, April 17

On Thursday:

  • I was still unable to log into Suntrust's online banking;
  • I received my PIN number in the mail, and attempted to call into the Suntrust phone tree, but after entering my check card number and PIN was not connected to a representative;

I used the online banking "live chat" feature and had the following conversation with a customer service representative, "Tera:"

Tera: Good afternoon. Thank you for contacting SunTrust. How may I assist you today?

Free-quent Flyer: I am not able to set up my online account. At Step 3: Services & Agreement I just get an error page: "This service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later." This has been going on for a week or so

Tera: It sounds like your temporary internet files and cookies need to be deleted. Do you know how to clear those?

Free-quent Flyer: Yes, I've already done so multiple times

Tera: Are you making sure to close the browser after clearing those then open a new one?

Free-quent Flyer: Yes, and I've tried private and incognito browsing as well

Tera: There is something in your browser that is causing the page to do that. Are you able to use a different browser such as Internet Explorer or FireFox?

Free-quent Flyer: I get an identical error in Chrome and Safari and Firefox

Tera: Our services are not down. Your browsers seem to have a bad file that is blocking the site. Let me set up the profile for you. So that I may bring up your profile may I please have your full account or card number and the last four digits of your Social Security Number?

Free-quent Flyer: [numbers]

Tera: Thank you, let me pull up your profile. I will be right back with you.

Tera: Your profile has already been created. You will need to log in through using the user id and password that you chose however that will not be accessible until the "no debit" status is removed from your account. That will be removed once we receive your signature cards.

Free-quent Flyer: I am logging in using the user id and password I chose

Free-quent Flyer: That brings me to this error screen

Tera: I'm sorry, I thought you mentioned you were just setting that up. Sorry for the confusion. The Online Banking is set up however you will not be able to log in until the "no debit" status is removed from your account.

Free-quent Flyer: So I'm supposed to be receiving this error screen? Perhaps the text could be changed so it doesn't look like a generic error page

Free-quent Flyer: Will I be notified when you receive my signature cards? Or am I supposed to just try every day until one day it suddenly works?

Tera: Yes, I am sorry. I will submit your feedback on that. Sorry for the confusion.

Tera: You will not be notified when those are received.

Saturday, April 19

I was able to log into my Suntrust online banking account, and everything looks to be correctly configured.


As frustrating and ridiculous as it seems, this appears to simply be Suntrust's standard operating procedure for new accounts. Instead of a specific error message telling you to wait until your signature cards have been processed, they return what looks like a website error.

The take-home advice from this is: wait at least 10 days, and perhaps as long as 12-14 days, to have online access to your Suntrust account. And try not to worry too much about it in the meantime!