Wells Fargo's Website Wants You To Use Netscape Navigator For Security Reasons

Reader Eric doesn’t want to install a defunct browser in order to do his banking, so Wells Fargo’s request that he use Netscape Navigator is really rubbing him the wrong way. (Navigator was discontinued in December and is no longer supported by AOL as of March 1, 2008, says Wikipedia.)
Eric writes:

I recently tried to sign up for online access to my Wells Fargo Financial account. I am on a mac and use Firefox or Safari – depending on my mood.

I went to sign up and was re-directed to a webpage that said that I should use Netscape Navigator instead!!! I ended up having to login using Internet Explorer from within Parallels on my macbook pro. It is ridiculous. I’m speculating that Wells Fargo still uses that stagecoach on their logo to have their mail delivered!

Here’s the message he got from Wells Fargo’s website:

We support the following browsers. If your browser does not meet Wells Fargo’s security standards, please follow the download instructions below.

Note: We strongly recommend that your computer be running one of the operating systems listed below, and be connected to the internet using one of the browser versions indicated.

Netscape® 6.XX and 7.XX

* Netscape Navigator/Communicator Upgrade for Windows
* Netscape Upgrade for Macintosh

Microsoft® Internet Explorer (MSIE) 5.X – 6.XX

* MSIE Upgrade for Windows

America Online® 4.0 – AOL 8.0 for Windows; use with MSIE 5.X – 6.0

* America Online Browser Upgrade

Eric also tells us that when he tried to complain about the problem they told him to use a telephone to call them for help. What? How, like, totally ’90s of them. The kids today do not want to use the telephone.

Eric is currently using Parallels to run IE, and is annoyed by that.

Wells Fargo Financial [EricStoller]


Edit Your Comment

  1. C2D says:

    Boo-fucking-hoo. I don’t have this issue at all because I keep my money under the bedroom mattress.

  2. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    You can change your browser identification in Firefox. That should do the trick.

  3. Buran says:

    This is as stupid as the sites that tell you to use IE, a browser known to be full of security holes, on Windows, an OS with the same problem. I don’t patronize businesses that won’t let me use Firefox on my Mac. Now, this isn’t a Mac-user smug post, it’s a “why are they demanding the most insecure OS/browser combo on the planet?” post.

    Oh, and I’m hard of hearing. Telling me I have to use a phone is a good way to get a “I am cancelling my service” email from me.

  4. Skeptic says:

    Hmmm…sounds like he should spoof the User Agent using Firefox and User agent switcher: [addons.mozilla.org]

  5. Buran says:

    @Jaysyn: … until you hit an ActiveX applet anyway …

  6. beautifulbaby says:

    I’m a Mac/Firefox user and I have no problems with the Wells Fargo website…very odd!

  7. Dan25 says:

    I do not use netscape and i have never had a problem with the wells fargo website.

  8. sleze69 says:

    Considering how much banking is done online, it sounds like a good time to switch banks. Even though HSBC had, at the time, a 5.05% interest rate on its savings account, there was a stretch of time that they kept changing security on the website. I was VERY close to just pull my money out and give it to ING which had the same rate. Luckily it settled down and I only recently switch to Etrade because of the dropping interest rates.

    Speak with your money.

  9. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:


    Not my fault you don’t have that extension installed.

  10. Jim says:

    I just got a coworker to quit using Netscape last year. I couldn’t believe anyone was still on it!

    Switch banks, WF stinks anyway.

  11. warf0x0r says:

    Yeah, um… I use WF Online with Firefox. Have so for the past oh 5 years at least.

  12. IrisMR says:

    *Scratches head* What was so highly secure and mighty in Netscape that they would FORCE you to use it? Heck, they should point it out so the programmers can put it in Firefox, presto!

  13. Truthie says:

    I have used Safari many times to get to the WF online banking site with no problems. But many sites are only designed for Internet Explorer, so as a Mac user it can be very annoying.

  14. hideouslywrinkled says:

    I had the same problem when I had a Wells Fargo Financial account I opened to buy my wife’s wedding ring. I solved it by writing checks and mailing them in. I figured that was the best choice since their website is clearly not going to be up to the latest security standards. (After all, even IE 6 is an outdated, nearly-defunct browser.)

  15. hideouslywrinkled says:

    @warf0x0r: Wells Fargo Financial is different organization than Wells Fargo online. I think they only handle Lines of Credit.

  16. ionerox says:

    @beautifulbaby: Wells Fargo Financial’s website is separate/different than the Wells Fargo banking website.

  17. SirDidymus says:

    2 months ago, I received a mysterious “fraud protection” charge for $129.99 on my Wells Fargo CC. When I called to inquire about it, I spoke to 4 different reps, none of whom were competant (I was disconnected once, rerouted to main menu once, xfer’d to a full voicemail box once).

    Finally, I discovered that the charge was from a Wells Fargo affiliated company, so they would neither reject the charge nor would they intervene on my behalf. After many phone calls, I wrangled a rebate. Obviously, I cancelled my account as soon as the rebate posted.

    This company is antiquated and poorly functional, and I’m not surprised to hear the OP’s difficulties with a basic element of online service.

  18. arch05 says:

    @hideouslywrinkled: Correctomundo.

  19. Whitey Fisk says:

    I don’t trust any of these financial institutions since the Panic Of 1873.

  20. SuperSally says:

    I had this exact problem this morning. I freaking hate Wells Fargo–they’re the damndest company to try to pay, EVAR. I’m still waiting on this month’s statement, and I don’t want to run Netscape (and when I tried, it gave me the same BS error).


  21. jesuismoi says:

    They wrote a browser identification script many moons ago, forced it in place, and then didn’t keep the person who wrote it.

    The problem isn’t the message, it’s that they are gate keeping the site from your using it if you don’t have the “right” browser in the first place.

  22. spinachdip says:

    I skimmed through the post, but does it say if Wells Fargo support Mosaic on System 8?

  23. PeggyK says:

    Like others, I use Firefox on a Mac and have no trouble using Wells Fargo online banking (the headline of the post is misleading, since that’s not the site that’s a problem). It’s clear that WF does have someone on the payroll who can design a no-Netscape-required web site. So the question is why the WF Financial subdomain hasn’t been upgraded to at least the standards of the regular WF banking site.

  24. samurailynn says:

    Even though Wells Fargo and Wells Fargo Financial are different, you would still think that two segments of the same company could allow users the same website accessing capabilities.

  25. tcarreon says:

    i use safari 3.0.4 + mac os x 10.5 and have no problems using wellsfargo’s site.

  26. BugMeNot2 says:

    I had to use netscape to get my internet to work the first time i used it. it was fricking ridiculious.
    first i tried using maxthon, then IE, and neither worked so i thought i was screwed. then i was going threw all my programs and saw netscape and was like shit i remember this from when i had windows 95 and i actually used netscape for some reason, but yeah as soon as i opened netscape it worked so that is gay that i needed to set it up threw netscape

  27. chiieddy says:

    I had a customer service agent try to tell me I had to use either IE or Netscape and that Firefox and Safari are not supported for Mac users. When I pointed out that IE 5.0 for Mac was the last version for the Mac and had been discontinued YEARS ago, she said, “Lots of our Mac users use it”. I told her to consider that “lots of their Mac users” are on an unsecure browser and that Netscape had also discontinued development. I have her name down, and just haven’t written the letter to their tech support folks yet. Basically, Firefox was showing duplicate payments on all bill payments on their site. I confirmed it worked fine by logging onto my husband’s computer and using IETab to display the website. Unfortunately, IETab doesn’t work for Mac. it’s dang useful.

  28. MYarms says:

    I remember Netscape Navigator Gold Beta from back when I was in high school. I used to love that browser.

  29. Framling says:

    @Jaysyn: Same in Opera. You can mask as IE or Firefox.

  30. Tankueray says:

    I use Firefox exclusively and when I opened up an auto loan with Wells Fargo I had to go through the same thing. Now I have to open up IE once a month to pay my truck payment. Damned annoying.

  31. Buran says:

    @Jaysyn: Not my fault I run a Mac. Hello?

  32. overbysara says:

    netscape??? for real?

  33. Wow… I haven’t touched Netscape since 4.7… I’d all but forgotten about that browser.

  34. I’m not going to try registering, but the page in question [epay.wellsfargo.com] loads fine when I change the user agent to a supported browser in Safari. So as others mentioned it’s just a dirty old browser check script. (Also the page lies: MSIE 7 is supported.)

    @samurailynn: Wouldn’t that be nice if the left hand talked to the right?

  35. Sure is nice of them to lock down every page on the website, including “Contact Us”.

  36. matto says:

    Apple told me that Safari on Windows wasn’t a supported browser.
    Beat that!

  37. watchout5 says:

    Moron, I use firefox and have wellsfargo and have 0 problems. This thread is stupid.

  38. CyberSkull says:

    In Safari, go to Debug > User Agent > Netscape 7.2. Firefox has a similar option in the menu as well. I’ve done this before with no trouble at all on these crappily coded websites.

  39. spinachdip says:

    @watchout5: yes, but we’re talking about Wells Fargo Financial, not Wells Fargo. Subtle, but important distinction to note before calling someone a moron.

  40. capstinence says:

    @beautifulbaby: Same here.

  41. I’m on a Mac and use Safari, and I haven’t had any problems logging into my Wells Fargo account. Hmm…

  42. elisa says:

    How can I get Firefox to pretend it’s another browser? What option is it under? thanks

  43. erinlynne says:

    i use firefox & have never had any problems…

  44. Skeptic says:


    See comment #4. Use the Agent Switcher add on.

  45. azntg says:

    Wow, Wells Fargo must really have a backwards online banking system and I thought Commerce’s was relatively unprofessional!

    God, I remember Netscape since the 3.0 days. It’s quite ironic though… I was trying to pull my dad away from Internet Explorer to Netscape then and now I’m trying to pull my dad away from Internet Explorer (again) to Firefox.

  46. Hambriq says:

    To reiterate what everyone else has said:

    Wells Fargo Financial and Wells Fargo are two different entities.

    And yes, Wells Fargo Financial sucks. They basically cater to people with no-to-low credit, and somehow that excuses the absolutely broken interface it uses. The most obnoxious part about it: you have to log into two separate sites to view your statement and pay your statement.

    My fiancee and I used to have one of their cards; eventually someone from WFF called us to ask us why we stopped using it. After giving him a laundry list of complaints, I think he was a bit put out. He thanked me for my ‘constructive criticism’, and quickly hung up.

  47. fergthecat says:

    Firefox doesn’t meet their security standards but Internet Exploder 5 does?!?!?! WTFO?!

  48. @matto: That’s PeopleSoft, a program most commonly used to generate errors. My favorite is “Error: Success”.

    (Once in a while it succeeds in managing things like customer service records and HR databases.)

  49. Anonymous says:

    @CyberSkull: Check out this article for enabling the debug menu in Safari:


  50. Netscape Navigator???? Wow, all fallouts from the dot.com crash of 2000 must have gone to work for Wells Fargo.

    Somewhere I still have Netscape 1.2 on a single floppy :D Hey kids, there’s your inheritance!

  51. paulinsf says:

    They sent me the same message months ago, I called up and was told that they were working on getting Firefox to work on their system. I just went ahead and started using Firefox and have been with no problem. This is with Windows and Linux, though. Haven’t tried it with Mac.

  52. KJones says:

    Allow me to quote Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium:

    “Anyone who slaps a ‘this page is best viewed with Browser X’ label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network.

    The whole point of HTML, XML, CGI, PERL and Java was to allow any computer to communicate with any other computer and not require they have any common software or hardware. It amazes me how many morons still can’t get a clue.


    Think of it this way: Would anyone buy a car that could only run on one type of gasoline and would choke if another brand were put in its tank? That’s what these idiots are doing.

  53. jeff303 says:

    @Buran: Any serious commercial website that is still serving ActiveX to its clients in 2008 doesn’t deserve to stay in business.

  54. Buran says:

    @jeff303: I agree but it’s still one huge reason why a lot of websites only work in Windows IE.

  55. gregr209 says:

    I have a Mac and use Firefox and Safari and have NO problems with Wells Fargo’s Web sites. Also use my mobile phone and iTouch and it works.

  56. magus_melchior says:

    Looks like a consultant built the WF Financial site and left them with a browser checker that’s stuck in the past.

  57. SJActress says:

    I always use firefox. My ONLY complaint about Netflix is that you HAVE to use IE for Watch Instantly. I e-mailed them about it. They’re such a great company, it’ll probably be fixed soon.

    I didn’t know Netscape still EXISTED!

  58. ericstoller says:

    Wells Fargo Financial fixed it!!! I just checked it today and it works (on a Mac) in both Firefox and Safari! I had several inbound visits last week from Wells Fargo IP addresses!!!