Surely it’s not this bad at every bank

I’ve already riffed on the uniformly awful customer service from Singaporean banks. The difference really hit home today, though.

Whenever you go travelling, it’s a good idea to call your credit card companies and let them know which countries you’re going to be in – otherwise, they’ll see lots of bills popping up from overseas, assume your card’s been stolen, and cancel it. I did this today for my two card companies (one Aussie, one local).

(Related: here’s a great thread from Whirlpool about CC fraud detection, and this blog entry popped up in a quick Google as well. There’s some astonishingly complicated work going on in the fraud detection area.)

The Aussie bank was easy. “I’m going to be overseas on this date in this country, this date in this country, and I’m back on this date.” “Alrighty mate, that’s done, is there anything else I can help you with?” “Can you send a slab of Cascade up here? I’m sick of Tiger beer.”

The Singaporean bank:

ME: Hi; I’m heading overseas in a few days, and I’d like to get that noted on my credit card account.

LADY ON PHONE: I’m sorry sir, you’ll have to call us back the day before you leave, we can’t flag your account yet.

ME: What? Oh, for crying out loud. Can I put a note on my account anyhow, just in case?

LADY ON PHONE: Certainly sir, where are you headed?

ME: I’m in Japan for a week, then the USA and Canada for three weeks.

LADY ON PHONE: Japan, then Canada.

ME: And the USA.

LADY ON PHONE: Is that in Canada? Where’s that?

ME: Where’s “the USA”?

LADY ON PHONE: Can you spell that for me?

ME: U for Uniform, S for Sierra, A for Appalling bloody customer service.

LADY ON PHONE: Alright sir, I’ll put that on your account, but please call us back the day before you leave.

SFX: Beep

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