A bit of bank-bashing wouldn’t go astray

They say in Australia that “bank-bashing is the national sport”. When you look at the way Singaporean banks abuse their customers, you really have to wonder why it’s not Singapore’s national sport as well.

The latest whinge-fest in the letters page of Pravda has been about liability for lost or stolen credit cards. In almost every country in the world, the bank or the card company shoulders the liability for fraudulent transactions. (Here’s Bank of America on the topic, and here’s ANZ.)

But in Singapore, as with so many other things, the bank’s position is a hearty “caveat emptor, sucker”.

Banks in Singapore are standing by their policy of holding customers responsible for transactions made on their lost or stolen cards if they do not report the missing card in time. Consumers who cry foul may have no leg to stand on, as the policy is stated in the fine print on the contract they have signed.

A check with seven banks and two credit card companies has found that those who hold Singapore-issued cards are liable for any unauthorised transaction made before the loss is reported.

And as if that weren’t enough, there’s only one interest rate for credit cards in Singapore – they all charge 24%, like the sort of oligopolists you only expect to see in economics textbooks.

I seriously do not understand how Singaporean retail banks can behave this badly and not expect the regulator to throw a fit.

Oh, wait. Is that the same regulator that told Pinnacle Notes and Minibond investors that it wouldn’t help them and they should go cry to the banks instead?

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