Payment suffering out of the blue

June turned out to be a record month for me in terms of the number of “plugs” with payments where there were no problems at all before. We can say that my problem started because of self-isolation, but it’s not just about it. It’s amazing how unprepared remote control systems can be for fairly routine operations.

Almost all of us have our own personal finance and payments management ecosystem. Fortunately, convenient Personal Accounts and applications make this task much easier. I’m allergic to memorizing templates and personal data (including card data) on third-party servers, but if you memorize, then you can do it in 15-20 minutes. If you follow the lead of your own paranoia and remember to refuse, then 30 minutes. If everything works the way it should work. Alas, more than once I was convinced that a seemingly minor violation of the routine can pull a whole chain along.

About cards and self-isolation

For many years I have been using a Uralsib bank credit card. A somewhat specific bank billing with the reservation of money on the intermediate account when replenishing the card, but once you figure it out, you stop being surprised at the mysterious movements of strange amounts, in the end everything is logical and the numbers converge. Otherwise, everything was fine, especially good cashback for any payments, and not just for some restaurants and fashionable boutiques, as banks now have with their “generous” cashbacks. My cashback “falls” on a phone number and this is real money, not cashback semi-candy wrappers, which are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to cash out. In general, the only problem was that the tandem cards expired exactly in the midst of self-isolation suffering. The girl on the phone kindly informed me that I had to urgently arrive at the bank and write an application for the re-issue of cards, then two weeks later come to the bank again to receive the required plastic. Express delivery? No, you haven’t. Self-isolation? Oh, we’ve heard about that! Because of her, most of the bank’s offices are closed, but I’ll find the nearest one for you. Thanks to the girl, but the “closest” one ended up in the middle of nowhere. Well, a joke with him, with “Uralsib”, there are other cards. It would seem that nothing foreshadowed trouble …

How to pay from your phone balance

I decided that this is a good reason to try to pay for the communal apartment from the MTS phone balance. Utility payments go through “MTS Bank” and they said that therefore the payment for utility services from the MTS number is free of charge. And I have already accumulated several thousand on the balance sheet of MTS, the cashback usually covers the subscriber for a hundred or two by the tariff and then dangles on the balance idle. Well, as usual, I went to the site of the mayor’s office, where I always paid for utilities from a card. Yes! The option “pay from phone balance” is present. Alas, only from the phone registered on the mayor’s office. And I was registered on their portal back in time immemorial and there is my Beeline number. But surely you can add another or change, right? There is a button “add number”, but it does not work. For 5-7 minutes the interface tormented – no, neither add nor change the number, the interface actively resists. Already started cursing programmers. But we are cunning, we will go to the section “My data” and change the number there!

Yeah yeah, Indian figwam hut. Now I understand what was the gag, but what software religion didn’t allow you to post this warning on the payment page on the “add number” and “change the number” function, huh? Let the stupid users bang their heads against the wall, are they not used to it? Okay, I understand you, let’s go.

Sports interest has already appeared and purposefully climbed to the MTS website to look for utility bills from the phone balance. The MTS site is still a monster, it is a whole garland of sites. The desired management of the accumulated cashback was found on the MTS Money sub-site. Why not on the MTS Cashback sub-site? After all, why not duplicate here and there? It doesn’t matter, the main thing is that you can really pay for housing and communal services from the room, victory! Okay, well, how much to pay? On the mayor’s website, the invoice amount and a link to the ENP are automatically pulled up by the payer’s code for those who want to view it, which is why I love MTS Money does not have this happiness, but it’s a pity. Crawl back to the website, go through the entire cycle and write down the amount on a piece of paper ?? I remembered that every month I receive spam from the website of state services, they write about the invoice and the amount. That’s it, that’s it! Once upon a time, I did not remove a tick by accident, since then notification letters have been coming, and looking for a switch off because of one letter a month is simply stupid. However, spam can be useful as well. Hurray, victory! Indeed, they did not take a commission, on the contrary: they also accrued cashback for the payment. 50 rubles or something. When paying for housing and communal services by card, they charge me 0.2 or 0.3% commission (I don’t remember how much), but here they don’t take commission, they also pay extra, blooper! If you are not too lazy to bother, then instead of direct payment from the card, you can replenish the balance of the MTS number from the card, take a walk in MTS Money and pay. The total savings turn out to be 100-150 rubles, a trifle, but you read the forums – people swear at the entire Internet for “stolen” 2 rubles from the phone balance and furiously scribble complaints to Roskomnadzor. And then as much as 100 rubles! And it’s just unsportsmanlike: why pay more if you can pay less?

Mosenergosbyt, round 2

Let’s go, electricity. The same account of Mosenergo, which with the slogan “Light comes with us!”. Here I did not expect any problems at all, they regularly upgrade and modify their site, new versions of the site are released almost more often than Android updates. It seems that everything should be perfect. But no, when trying to pay, I received a lengthy line about some fatal error in java. So with Mosenergo comes not only light, but also a headache. On June 12 it was, I suppose, the site celebrated the day of independence from its users. Okay, thanks for the section with the history of transactions, I looked – I paid recently, I still have a lot of time, I will have time. They don’t want my money “here and now” – don’t.

Yes, not so long ago they once again improved the interface of their Personal Account, it became beautiful and stylish. But it doesn’t work. What can you do, beauty requires sacrifice!


A couple of days ago, another invoice from MGTS flew into the mail, but with these guys you can’t get overwhelmed. They give 9-10 days for reflection, then they threaten to turn off the Internet. But we are modern people, just recently I wrote about a cute girl from MGTS who kindly put their application on my phone. Lovely, just lovely as it is convenient, the softphone online checks the status of the account and drives everything you need into the payment with one click. It remains only to enter the card details and click OK. So I pressed. Stop-stop, where is the amount and so on? Hmm, the app makes sure that I don’t owe anything to a reputable phone company and confidently draws zero debt to me. Thank you for your trust, but I feel a catch in my gut, didn’t they just send me an email account from MGTS ??

How does a decent user act in such cases? That’s right, the user writes from the application to support, fortunately, the smart software itself applies all the logs and so on to facilitate the search for the defect. Proud of his conscientiousness, he wrote. What does a company do when it receives a complaint or a claim from a user? That’s right, a self-respecting company sends the user to hell, because there is nothing to distract people from important matters with their slander. By the way, I regularly pass by the huge MGTS data center, an eight-story building a block long. Probably, it is there that the same mail server is located, which overflowed and stopped accepting mail. You could allocate at least 300-700 square meters of space to the long-suffering server, it is possible to hold the World Cup in this data center.

Okay, we are not proud, we can pay in the old fashioned way on the site. The payment goes through MTS Money, the contract number and the payment amount were substituted by themselves (taken from the notification letter). This is gut, such little things are not just pleasant, they also confirm the correctness of the actions. Victory? Nah, it’s still the same Indian hut that the fucking thing. On the site, MIR and VISA cards are indicated as means of payment, for some reason they do not like Master Card in MTS. OK, don’t be capricious, the MIR card is also available. All? No, the payment doesn’t go through. He writes something about the problem of either authorization or authentication. In short, I did not come out with a muzzle. I remembered that a lady at Sberbank still gently hinted to me that the MIR card is beautiful, but online payments from it periodically do not go through. Say, this is not what a wonderful card is intended for. And yes, a couple of times I tried to pay for something on the Internet with this MIR – a shock at the very last stage, when it already starts to be offensive for the lost time. Okay, let’s try to go from the other side. I remembered that I have a VISA Sberovsk debit, I climb into the Sberovsk application, transfer the required amount from MIR to VISA, pay the MGTS bill. Ufff, the payment is successfully slipping through (fie-fie!) And I hope that now this is definitely all.

In the evening, the application showed zero on the balance of the personal account, but either it fell asleep forever, or now it really should be zero, because the invoice has been paid? Science is unknown. The next day, the application showed a positive balance for the amount of the payment made and I almost calmed down: yes, it slows down, but it seems to work! Probably, just “online” he has such a delay for a day or two, we are all human, we will understand the delays, we will not be hysterical. We’re not suspicious schoolgirls, are we? Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, the application should (probably) show zero and then I will finally calm down.


I regularly read press releases about the continuous improvement of self-service systems and how important all this is in conditions of self-isolation. Say, artificial intelligence is triumphantly striding across the planet and soon these systems will begin not only to recognize the voice, but also to read the thoughts. And by the eyes to guess the desires of users. But in reality we see plugs at the slightest departure from the most primitive scenarios. The developers of interfaces and applications are offended: you think, everything is good and super-progressive, but here because of one small mistake, swear at once! The problem is the scale of the disaster. Developers finish and continuously improve one of their products, and the user has to deal with several different ones at least once a month. And if, God forbid, everyone has a small mistake … In general, there is no need to chase after “modernity”, beautiful interfaces and super-functionality. Such tools should stupidly work reliably without the constant supervision of specialists, everything else is secondary. And all sorts of beauty – generally the tenth thing. I, unfortunately, regularly forget that it is not recommended to start any payments, transfers, etc. on weekends, it is fraught with hassle. Why I don’t know, but it’s a fact. Either there specially trained employees during working hours continuously monitor and insure their “automated” systems, or the very presence of the harsh bosses motivates and programs are “saluted”.

For myself, I took a life hack out of all this: even having a wonderful and all-Russian recognized MIR bank card, take care of purchasing a simple VISA card. Just in case. A debit card does not oblige you to anything and usually does not ask for money, but it can easily help out. It is funny to drive money from card to card due to indigestion with MIR in Russian (!) Payment systems, but this is no solution, but a solution that works. Unlike from top to bottom certified MIR card, which refuses to work.


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