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.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tony,

I was just wondering. Before the snip snip your wallet must very thick with all those cards.

The trousers pocket must be very bulgey (in the wrong place Ha!).

Happy New Year and Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony

Good idea to write about your cancelling of credit card experience so that visitors to your blog get a fair idea of the hassle hassle they can expect especially if they, like me, only own a basic or gold card.

I totally agree with you it's a silly and actually stupid idea to implement such a policy and yes, with their flip-flop knee-jerk mentality, we will get to see a 'waiver' if not now, then in a year or two when financial institutions feel the full impact of the 'potong credit cards' phenomena.

If you and readers have not done so, I'd like to help publicise a Facebook Group, 'Say No to RM50 credit card service tax. Please join to support the growing numbers who are against this stupid policy.

Most people I know are ordinary wage-earners and own only one card, even then we will use one that offers annual fee waiver. We posses one because it is a convenient facility to pay various utilities bills online and one don't have to waste precious hours queueing in line to pay bills. It is also useful to save costs when we use our one and only credit card to pay for bulk purchase during sales promotions. But I wonder if our Prime Minister cum Finance Minister even begin to understand or appreciate the meaning and necessity of owing a credit card to us???! People First, Performance Now, my foot, better retag it to People First, Tax Them NOW!

Anonymous said...

dude,
i have plat citibank.cant snip.live on it.no cash.selangor govt 'harapan baru'.

jo

Anonymous said...

Two weeks ago, I canceled 2 cards from bank A at the local branch. The officer asked me why cancel so soon as the bank had not decided on anything.

Two days ago, I canceled 2 cards from bank B by calling the contact centre. I was informed that redemption points could be used to offset the tax.

Yesterday, I canceled 1 card from bank C. "Use the card 36 times in a year and a cash back of RM50 will be given to offset the tax" said the customer service officer.

The banks are concerned, and they should be (if a deluge of card holders decide to cancel their cards) after they have taken so much time, effort and resources to position themselves to tap into the lucrative credit cards market.

So, with the credit card tax, the government is also tapping into this market for revenue.

Feel Cheated said...

But Maybank has the worse reputation of squandering their customers' money with unnecessary charges. Now they charges their customers when their customers use the ATM machine. What kind of bank is that? More like a loan shark to me. The other day I withdraw some cash and tell them to issue a banker's cheque. They charge me RM5. Other banks charge less than RM5 and one bank even charge less than RM1! Moral of the story - NEVER PUT YOUR MONEY IN MAYBANK.

Mas said...

Hi Tony

Excellent posts and so detailed! Hubby and I only had to cancel our unutilised cards from CIMB and Direct Access and it was relatively painless. They just need a 'signature verification' so a letter or form duly filled up with signature can just be faxed, or scanned in and e-mailed to them. No going to branches etc.

In fact, it's a bit pointless to go to the branch, right? Because the cards are issued by the banks' respective Card Centres.

Anyway, like you, we are also keeping the AMEX and, like you, for the same reasons :)

Mas

Anonymous said...

Maybank is so cute.

If your use your ATM card more than 4 times in a month, there will be a charge of 0.50 cents for every subsequent use.

There is the requirement to buy PA from one Maybank branch if you want to open a savings account.

A cheque issued from the same branch and banked into an account opened in the same branch takes 3 working days to clear, i.e. it is treated like a local rather than a house cheque.

Joean said...

yet some "patriotic" BN-supporters say we like to put our money in foreign banks. Who cares local or foreign, if local bank service is sucks, do you want to get into the hassle?

Secondly, even if the bank willing to absorb the $50 for us, the bank still need to pay the stupid BN govt on per card basis. No way I will contribute $ to stupid govt indirectly. They have misused my "income tax" so much!!!

I really can't wait for the next GE!!!

Anonymous said...

this is a desperate govt which needed all the money it can get hold of, just to feed the cronies.

Najib, you could have auctioned the land in Duta and get a couple of billion dollars instead of giving it to the AP king for a song of no more than RM400m. After the billions from AP, this fellas want more. Truly a wonderful NEP

dua sen said...

Btw Alliance Bank is owned TEMASEK. I thought Singapore company service is very good!!!! Like the infamous S'pore Miss Universe Ris Low....
Singapore Miss Universe

Thank you for the credit card information. I am still scratching my head how you end up so many cards and managing it as well. Full time accounts clerk ?

NS said...

heh, i agree with Tony that this tax will probably be waived.

you can still enjoy the 10% discount at starbuck Tony, if you have Jusco card ;p

Anonymous said...

IMHO, having a charge card saves on unnecessary interest and it works better for it helps check on disciplined ( full ) payments and smarter non excessive spending.

~ ais

Anonymous said...

"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 ;-)"

Wow you must be as avid a shopper as Rosmiao to be able to accumulate points over RM500 in value.

Unknown said...

Anon 2.55

Actually I hand a lot more. This is not accumulated overnight or even over a year.

I believe that the points collection must have been at least from 2004. A lot of it were for company expenses and hence the larger amounts e.g., when buying lots of computers from Dell, why pay by cheque when you can pay by credit card? ;-)

Tony

Simon Seow said...

Tony, u still can get 10% discount from Starbucks if u have Jusco member card. If don't have, go get one. It's only RM 12 per year and u get to collect pts shopping in Jusco and a lot of other discount in about 500 merchants. I always use Jusco card when I drink starbucks lol.

Unknown said...

Simon,

yah, I know Jusco card also got Starbucks discount.

But I don't shop at Jusco la, always always cheaper stuff elsewhere. So no real incentive to pay for the Jusco card, except to get discounts at Starbucks.

Hopefully now without discount, I drink coffee at cheaper outlets else where la ;-) (Looking at things on the brighter side)

;-) Tony

Chowpiao said...

I was laughing very hard by the time I reached the Maybank paragraph and decided to share it on FB with all my friends. The real problem (beside the flip-flop policy) is also the ignorance of the general Malaysian public and the lack of consumer rights! I envy countries where there is a refund policy within 90days and some even 180days. In Bolehland...Goods sold are not refundable nor exchangeable! Ignorance why??? Ask around, how many really bother to call and threaten to cancel their c/cards unless their annual fee gets waived? OK, may be among few of us who's more aware and educated. The rest are too lazy to bother. So yes, the lack of right is our own doing!