Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Credit Cards Snip! (II)

Following the earlier post on the 2 cards I retained, the following are the 8-9 cards I snipped, and my experience attempting to "snip" them. Hopefully I didn't forget about any other cards I may have ;-)

Citibank "Air Asia" and platinum Mastercards

This was fairly easy. They even have a special telebanking option when you call in to "explain" the credit card tax issue. After explaining that I wasn't keen to wait until October to cancel my cards when they expire (don't want the hassle of tracking expiry dates), the Citibank officer proceeded to terminate these cards.

I was given 2 weeks to use up my reward points after termination, and I've duly converted them to RM500 worth of shopping vouchers from Giant (12,000 points) and Robinsons (10,200 points). The missus will have a good day ;-)

HSBC Platinum Visa, Gold Visa and Mastercards

Yup, that's 3 cards from HSBC. There goes my 10% discount every time I take a sip at Starbucks. Sigh. But I suppose, the discounts won't add up to RM50, or spending RM500 per year on Starbucks. Of course, there are plenty of other discount offers at fine dining places, but I'm not a fan of these outlets so the hassle of having make payments monthly for very little in return just makes it too much of a pain for me.

It was easy with HSBC as well, with the exception that because I wanted to convert all my reward points (just to get RM20 cashback), I can't terminate my Platinum card just yet until next week. (With Citi, you can terminate first, convert later). But the Visa and Mastercards saw the end.

Maybank Gold Mastercard

I'm keep the Amex card from Maybank, but my other Maybank card which was seldom used will have to go out of the window. I called the number behind the card, but was informed via an automatic voice message to call another number... odd...

Unfortunately for Maybank, to cancel a card, you will have to go to a Maybank branch personally to terminate it! This is from our country's largest bank. Which century is it living in?

Anyway, went to the SS2 Maybank branch this morning to fill in the form. And guess what? The officer said, actually the branch has no authority to terminate the card as well, they will actually have to forward the form back to the card centre for termination(!)

EON Bank Platinum Visa

This is when the service quality starts getting worse. At least for Maybank, someone picks up the phone fairly quickly to answer the enquiries. For EON Bank, no one picked up the phone during lunch time, despite the phone number being a "Platinum card priority line". Tried a few times and gave up. I managed to get through only later in the afternoon, and ta-da, I have again to personally appear in a bank branch to terminate the card. At least for Maybank, there's a fair few branches around the corner. EON Bank?

Alliance Bank Platinum Visa

Now, Alliance Bank is the worst of the lot in terms of phone service quality. I had to try at three different times - lunch time, tea time, and before dinner time before I managed to get someone to pick up the phone. What is most ridiculous is that after waiting forever, you are transferred to an automatic voice message system asking you to leave your contact number and name for an officer to call you back later. Fair enough, but then the message was soon followed by another, which said that the voice mail box was full and cannot take any more messages!!! And this happened for the 10 times (or so) I called the Bank! And again, this was the special "Platinum card priority line".

Finally managed to get through in the late afternoon, and while I don't have to go to a branch personally to terminate the card, I have to go back to office later to pick up a faxed form, fill it in, and fax it back to the bank. The officer claimed that no termination can be done over the phone due to existing Bank Negara laws... I didn't quibble over this but err.... why are Citibank and HSBC able to do so?

Public Bank Visa Platinum

The phone call was easy for Public Bank, but I still have to fax an official letter back, and so I will.

Hong Leong Bank Visa Platinum

I think I still have a dormant Hong Leong Bank card somewhere... (the bank refused to "cancel" it a few years back when I called to cancel...) I had it because it gave me free Priority Parking outside 1Utama New Wing (worth RM8 each time!) ;-).

Phew. Together with my supplementary cards, the above would have saved me more than RM600 a year. What a silly policy by our Government. I can imagine the amount losses incurred by the various banks, after having spent a bomb on acquiring them. Worse, in a year or two's time, our consistently inconsistent government will once again "waive" the RM50 tax, probably just before the next elections, and it'll start all over again.
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