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The word ‘cookie’ is not foreign to me, be they sugary treats, or the kind you’re supposed to clear when your browser is acting funny. I spend a good bit of my day browsing the web, scrolling through Pinterest, or reading online blogs.  Even though I had a basic understanding of web cookies, I had never really given them much thought.  


I’m a diligent user of online banking and online bill pay.  I trust that all of my payees info will just be there, waiting for me to be responsible and pay my monthly bills.  This weekend, when I logged into my banking portal, all of my bill pay information was GONE! In true panic fashion, I dialed customer service.  After an exhaustive, exasperating, and expletive-inducing experience of transfer tag, a tech support representative suggested I delete my browser history and cookie cachee.  Voila! Payee information restored!  


After retelling my tale to my tech savvy colleagues, it was explained why clearing my cookies had solved my issue. While websites and applications use cookies to store data on a user’s web browser for faster loading, saving form content, or recording browsing history, sometimes those cookies can become corrupted or outdated.  If a company updates information on their website, your stored cookie might not get the message, resulting in an old version of the website loading with inaccurate, or missing data.  


Cookies get a bad rap for third-party tracking and long-term compiling of an individual’s browsing history, but their usefulness vastly outweighs their possible downsides. Cookies make web browsing faster and they allow websites to offer functionality they otherwise wouldn’t be able to provide. Like all things ‘computer’ they can sometimes run into issues that make them not work properly. The overwhelming majority of the time, any issue related to cookies can be fixed quickly and easily; a fact which I am greatly happy for (and so are my payees for that matter).