Client Verification with Schwab - So Secure, Even You Can't Log In!

John Robinson |

A number of clients have reported getting tripped up by the account verification process at Schwab.  The issue is attributable to Schwab's use of consumers' credit report data to generate security questions.  The reports, which are produced by the three major credit agencies - Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax - contain detailed information about your personal and financial life going back decades.  Questions pulled from the credit reports may pertain to former addresses, employers, automobiles, loans, etc.  The questions pose two challenges to consumers - (1) it may be difficult to remember car models, years, and makes, residential street numbers/zip codes, and employers from 30-50 years ago, and (2) sometimes the information in your credit report is not accurate.  

When I first tried to log in to my own accounts through the website, I failed the test on the first try but got through on my second attempt thanks to some lucky guesswork.  One 91-year-old client who called in to speak with a SchwabAlliance phone rep for login assistance gained access after working through a gauntlet of 8 verification questions  Another client in Massachusetts failed two times and was told by the phone rep to download her credit report and call back in two weeks!

I swear I am not making this up.  For those readers who are fans of the sitcom, The Office, it appears that Dwight Schrute has resurfaced in Schwab's Customer Relations Department.

"Identity theft is not a Joke, Jim! Millions of families suffer every year. - Dwight Schrute, The Office, Season 3, Episode 21: "Product Recall."

Account verification is required the first time you log in to the website and each time you call to speak with a SchwabAlliance support rep.  There is no solution to the first-time login (or if you get locked out).  We cannot intervene on your behalf.  You must contact Schwab Alliance.  However, today's Pro-Tip for managing these nuisances is to reach out to Sue Gabor at before you get frustrated. 

Sue has extensive troubleshooting experience and can act as a liaison on 3-way calls to SchwabAlliance support. She is patient, friendly, and diplomatic in working with Schwab Alliance phone reps.

NOTE: Alicia and Sue should always be your primary resource for admin and platform navigation issues, and I am your resource for all matters pertaining to financial planning and investing.  We can address pretty much all client issues that do not involve logging into the website.