Tag Archives: Bank

Maybank don’t seem to train their customer reps

On more than one occasions now customer reps at Maybank show they don’t know their products and services well enough. It’s basically wasting everybody’s time if they don’t train their staff to be on the same page as what they are trying to offer to customers.

Let’s talk about balance transfer on Maybank credit cards. I saw a good balance transfer deal when I was at a Maybank branch months ago. It is 0% balance transfer for 12 months with only 1% handling fee (usually 3% as it is a promotion). So I enquired whether I can balance transfer money to a third party like my wife’s credit card, as it is okay to do that in the UK. The guy, specialised in credit card balance transfer said no. But he then told me that if my wife is a supplementary cardholder of mine, then she would be able to do that. Okay so I applied a supplementary card for my wife.

A week or two later, my wife suspected that the Maybank branch called to tell her that the credit cards are ready at the branch but she missed the call, she was cooking in the evening. They didn’t bother calling again. They didn’t bother calling the principal card holder, that would be me, too, in case they have got the number wrong. We just waited for another week or two before we just turn up at the branch to see if the cards are ready. I tried calling their national customer helpline before, was put on hold for over half an over on a queue and eventually they just cut me off. Fantastic stuff.

So we just turn up at the branch expecting the cards to be ready anyway. That took us half an hour waiting for the customer rep to service a customer. Majority of them sitting around are financial advisers trying to sell you Maybank products, not really there to serve customers’ interest. This rep who is supposed to be the proper customer rep, however knows very little. We asked if I the principal card holder can view my wife’s transactions, so that I know how much to pay in the next statement. She was not sure, suggesting that my wife might need an online maybank2u account with them to view her transactions. Problem is my wife does not bank with Maybank and does not plan to have another sets of account with Maybank. Life is already complicated enough. We told them that RHB allows transactions from supplementary card holder to be viewed by principal card holder online. So is it possible I add my wife’s card so I can view her transactions? She didn’t know and had to call for help. Fair enough, meanwhile I had to go back to my car to scratch for more parking time. Don’t want to be fined by traffic warden.

We asked for the balance transfer form with promotion but this same rep pulled us an outdated one. She did not seem to know about these promotions. And she did not know who best to ask around her desk either, as it appears that there are people who know more about balance transfer than others.

After confirming that principal card holder cannot see transactions by supplementary card holder until the monthly statement, we decided to cancel my wife’s credit cards on the same day. Another issue is I haven’t received a single statement, by post or by email, from Maybank ever since I started using their credit cards months ago. When I tried hitting the point to this rep, she kept telling me that I can go online to check the e-statement. No, I don’t want to keep checking my online bank account for statements. I want to be notified when the statement is ready! As I don’t want to miss credit card payments! You cannot expect customers to always remember when in the month the statement is ready! So I had to fill up another form to tell Maybank that I want to receive my statements by email (they have my correct email address in the system BTW).

Back to balance transfer. Now that my wife’s credit card was cancelled. I pulled together necessary documents and try to balance transfer money to a credit card where I am a supplementary card holder. The guy, who is a balance transfer specialist, as I was directed to him straightaway without having to queue
the next day, seemed happy to process my application. The credit card statement I provided has my name and credit card number as a supplementary card holder. Then two days later I received an SMS yesterday:

RM0.00 MBB:We regret to inform that we are unable to accede to your Balance Transfer appl. Thank you for your interest shown.

Without any reason, with just an SMS they decline your application. Very helpful. So I had to call their national helpline again to find out why, despite knowing that I might have to wait a long time on the phone and be cut off without warning. Okay managed to speak to a rep this time, he did not however know that my application for balance transfer was declined and I had to read him the above SMS message. Waited a while again and he came back to me that balance transfer must be from principal card holder of Maybank to principal card holder of another credit card provider. Wow, after everything, weeks of running around, applications, face to face and phone communications, frustrations, now only you deliver me this crucial line!

You see, that is Malaysia’s culture. They like wasting everyone’s time. If Maybank have trained their staff properly, with the correct information, they could have avoided all these very early on. But the problem is endemic as you can see. It’s not just this particular case highlighted about balance bank transfer. You might argue that I am a difficult customer in this case, but you see, in the UK, I can balance transfer to any third party credit card. So unless they tell me clearly otherwise I wouldn’t know!

Public Bank SecureSign device how-to

Finally got our SecureSign device from Public Bank for online business e-banking. Looks similar to HSBC’s security token:
SecureSign PBB
However the way it is used is very different from HSBC’s. There are two stages in carrying out an online transaction. The logic behind is there may be more than one person who can access the business bank account (logging into the account does not require the SecureSign device). But not all of them have the authority to carry out online transactions. So the first stage involves creating transactions, e.g. to pay for utility bills. Subsequently, the person with SecureSign device will approve these transactions, presumably one by one (haven’t tried this out yet).

In the first stage, I made payment in a similar way to how I was accustomed to. But when I was expecting to key in a secure code from the SecureSign device before I confirm a transaction, I managed to confirm without one. But the transaction was then put under “Pending” status.

In the second stage, I needed to click on the “Transaction Approval” tab to proceed:
Transaction_Approval_PBB
On the left hand column, there were “Maker Transaction Status” and “Authorizer Transaction Status”. I could view pending transaction under “Maker Transaction Status” or “Authorizer Transaction Status”. To authorise transactions, I needed to click on “Authorizer Transaction Status”, followed by “Approve/Reject Transaction”. There I was required to search for the transaction to approve, which in my case was just one pending. Here came the unintuitive bit, after clicking on the transaction that I wanted to approve. I was required to key in the secure code. The secure code was to be generated from the SecureSign device. However it wasn’t entirely clear from the Quick Guide that came with the SecureSign device how it could be generated:
SecureSign Quick Guide

First, I keyed in the PIN number into the SecureSign device when prompted. Then I pressed the “1” or “Sign” button on the device, before keying in the first set of data. This first set of data was actually the first line of numbers on-screen in red. After keying in the numbers followed by “OK” on the device, I keyed in the second line of numbers in red (it was the amount figure, but remember to omit the decimal dot) followed by “OK”. Then only the secure code appeared, which I entered on-screen to approve the transaction.

Now do you understand how the SecureSign device facilitates online business transactions for Public Bank?

Updated on 4/12/2015:
Just found out today that if your pending transaction is not authorised within 7 days, the transaction will vanish by itself. Yes, vanish, because it will not show up anywhere, even if you try to search for it. It is not rejected nor deleted. It will disappear from you, or even the Public Bank staff. Initially I thought I can just keep creating transactions, let them stay pending, until I authorise them at a later date closer to actual payment due date for my bills. The reason I did that because Public Bank do not allow transactions to executed on a future date. Absolutely rubbish. Maybank can do that. And how difficult can it be to keep a record of expired (pending) transactions, so that I don’t have to dig out transaction details again to make the payment. Basically their commercial online payment system is just not very well thought out to me. It is appropriate to describe it as rubbish.

Updated on 1/2/2016:
If you damage the device, it will cost you RM50 (plus GST) to replace. Don’t put it in your pocket, especially if your jeans is tight, like mine, with lots of things inside too, as mine cracked. Replacement does not take long, I got mine replaced in 2-3 days time.

Updated on 16/6/2017:


One and a half year since I wrote this how-to and their online portal is still showing up such amateurish message.. Basically this shows up when there is no more transaction to approve or reject when I clicked on “Approve/Reject Transaction”. It is NOT an error if there is no transaction to show here! Before this online portal goes live Public Bank should have inspected it thoroughly, every permutations, to weed out all the loose ends. Users are not interested in software error messages copied straight from the backend. Very poor, embarrassing actually, considering that Public Bank is the second largest bank in Malaysia. 

Such cheap credit available in the UK

Before I came back to Malaysia, I was clever to raise some cheap capital in the UK to start my business in Malaysia, via personal loans and credit cards. Particularly from credit cards. At the time, the best deals were offering 0% balance transfer for 2 years. I only needed to pay the one off handling fee and that would become the interest to pay over the two-year period.

When the two-year period was up, somehow I was able to roll the debt to other credit cards. Deals were not as good anymore as I was only able to take advantage of promotions given to me by my existing credit cards having moved back to Malaysia. And this goes on for almost three years now. Lately I even managed to transfer cash into my current accounts, again 0% interest for a period of time with a low enough handling fee! It is so much easier to get credits from UK credit cards, almost beyond belief, when I can’t even get a credit card yet in Malaysia.

Problem with record low interest rate in the UK is a lot of the consumer spending nowadays is fueled by such easy credits from credit cards. And credit card companies are making it so easy for us to roll debt around. All we need to do is fulfill 0% interest minimum payment to service the debt, which is normally a small sum relative to wages in the UK.

The U.S. has been threatening to raise interest rate for many months now. And the UK is monitoring the situation too. But I seriously doubt they will raise it anytime soon. The implication on consumer spending is going to be huge, and it is going to hit the banks as bad debt rises.

Good news for me, as I can still keep myself afloat as a result. Otherwise with the weak Ringgit, I would need to take a massive hit if I were to repay the credit card debt by early next year! And raising capital in Malaysia is so much harder and more expensive. Double whammy!

Public Bank’s security device for e-banking is finally free

When I applied for my business account with Public Bank two and a half years ago, I was told that we can only view our business bank account online. We can’t do any electronic transactions, that involve making payments for example. If we want to be able to make payments, we need to apply for a security device, a.k.a. MSC token I believe, which costs RM220. If I remember correctly, we need to pay a monthly or annual fee for the “privilege”! Rubbish I know, but we didn’t know it was this rubbish until we had opened the account. We didn’t bother to open another bank account, which we had considered, e.g. Maybank, because it can be rather tedious. So we paid KWSP, SOCSO, and whatnot over the counter or by cash. Had to endure queueing in the bank, many times, for long period of time too often.

Today when I tried to pay GST due for this quarter, via the customs’ portal, I thought I could pay via FPX, an online payment gateway, as I was able to proceed after having entered our Public Bank login credentials. But when it came to the final step, of executing the payment, it gave me a “Transaction unsuccessful” error. I was told to contact my merchant bank. Phoned up Public Bank’s Internet banking department, told the guy about the error. At the time I didn’t note down the precise error message. But the guy kept telling me that I should be able to make payment to the customs, even though I explained to him that I haven’t got the security device. But I already paid our GST at RHB Bank over the counter (Public Bank don’t accept GST payment over the counter, shocking!), so couldn’t try out paying online from Public Bank’s e-Banking portal as suggested. Half believing that guy, I hanged up the phone and went on to try paying one of our company’s utility bill. But again transaction unsuccessful. The precise error message is “No rule for transaction”. Armed with this error message, phoned them up again to grill them. This time the lady who answered the phone was able to explain to me that I need the security device. And it is free, I only need to apply for one from my home branch. Great! Why didn’t they make announcement, say via letter or something, that the security device is free? If you look up on the MSC token (see link above) on their website, it is still written there that you need to pay RM220. For such a big bank in Malaysia, they do seem very poorly run. Telephone support are not consistently trained, website not up to date, poor communication with customers on available products, only playing catch up when other banks are well ahead on the e-banking front, and pushing customers to other banks to pay for GST!

To be honest the banking industry in the UK is a lot more competitive than in Malaysia, and many years ahead. Seems that the owner and shareholders of Public Bank are just happy to rake in profit without giving much return to their customers since competition here is not as fierce. Rubbish isn’t it?

Rubbish HSBC, yet again

The thing with customer services in the UK is, the labour cost is so expensive that they can’t afford to pay the bank staff to work on the weekends. In this case, the HSBC staff from the “lending team” for business accounts. What’s the point of setting up customer service department when these people can’t bloody make decision?! Oh, it’s weekend and the “lending team” is not working, you’ll have to wait till Monday. For god’s sake, I just want to find a way to pay for my next purchase now that my credit limit is exceeded. I have already transferred money to my credit card account in an attempt to offset some of the money outstanding. But hey, you can only spend the amount equal to your credit limit in a month. If you want to spend more, tough, you’ll HAVE TO speak to our lending team. Even paying money into your credit card account won’t work either. Lending team, is the answer!If they are so important in the decision tree, then bloody get them to work on weekends as well! It’s not good enough to have a bunch of staff sitting around answering phone calls when none of them can make decisions! It’s just pathethic.

HSBC Business Direct

Damn HSBC. They just wouldn’t tell you when they have introduced better products! These banks are so good at profiting from people who are not financial savvy. I think HSBC realise that their Business Current Account is not attractive to new start-ups anymore so they started introducing this Business Direct Account which is without monthly maintenance fee to start competing with other banks. But they don’t make an effort to tell existing customers that they have this new type of business account which might benefit them. Talk about giving free professional advices, this and that, just cheap marketing gimmicks. Don’t be fooled into thinking that they will really act in existing customers’ best interests. Once again, very disappointed with HSBC.

Business account with HSBC? Don’t bother.

It’s not the first time I complain about HSBC now. For personal banking, the interest they give to your current account is dismal, 0.1% APR or something ridiculous. I tried to check on their website just now and I think they are trying to make it difficult for people to see their rates. You have to download PDF files before you can see the rates, and they make everything look so complicated. Used their credit card service before and to be honest with you, they are small in the credit card market. The bank is probably very lean and efficient. But as a customer if you have something you want to complain, they often come back to you with some incompetent “specialists” that are just poor. Take for example their credit card service. W had s transaction she wanted to refute but they came back with some mickey mouse “specialists” that have not even heard of chargeback. And you know what we have to explain to them instead what chargeback is. They then brought in in-house legal assistants and started denying our rights as consumers and very conveniently stayed away from the hassle, to save themselves work.As for business banking, they have a bunch amateurs working at the branch. I have deadline, given by the CAA, to secure a bond guarantee for my travel business within two months. Their so called commercial manager, a young chap, at the Reading branch is very well aware of that. They need cash deposit, fair enough, I provided them. I was reassured time and again that I will be able to get the bond certificate in about 2 days time once I have the money deposited in the account and have the application form sorted. However, I was called 2 days ago, after almost a month and a half of communication with that young chap, that I was denied by their “system”. He couldn’t quite put his finger on what exactly has gone wrong, when the full amount of cash is already in their account! How annoying is that?! It’s not as if I’m borrowing money from them, not a penny! You know what, he told me that he can’t do anything right now, as he can’t override the “system”. He could try again in three months time, but of course he’s aware that that’s not a solution, and it certainly doesn’t sound like he can get it right the next time either! How inflexible is the “system”, when even his senior manager can’t do anything about it. Unbelievable, like the decision from Rob Style to award a penalty to Chelsea today that never was, and which nobody can do anything about! Well done, that leaves me two weeks to sort out the bond.The “business specialists” may sound like they are always there to help you with your business when you set up the account with them. But no no, they are just good in setting up the account. When you contact them, almost 99% of the time you can only reach their voice mail. You’ll be lucky if they return your call the same day, if at all sometimes! Unbelievable. Often, they are only interested in trying to hook you into more of their service, like their payment processor. Contacting them via email is even worse! Don’t bother. It doesn’t seem like they check their email everyday. Asked the “specialist” who deals with setting up my account to get me some documents, like the mandate and signature specimen, when I set up the account, she didn’t know that she can just print them off their database. She gave me reasons that she had to go through their filing system in the basement, which is time consuming, and she couldn’t find the documents I wanted. The reason I knew she’s bollocks because after weeks of inaction from her, I decided to turn up at the branch when she was on holiday to try someone else. And his colleague did just that. Frustrating isn’t it. I hope that woman knows how ridiculous she is!I hope other banks are not as poor…

HSBC security device

HSBC Security Device This security device has been given to HSBC customers in the far east (at least Hong Kong and Malaysia) for a while now, at least a year, for more secure online banking. Yet, in a lunch time conversation with my colleagues when we so happened to chat about the different authentication methods used by the banks, none of them are aware of such security system. In fact, HSBC are already rolling out this in the UK, but only to business customers. I know because I’ve just opened a business account with them recently. The way you use this device is everytime you want to log in to your Internet bank account, you need a username, a password and a 6-digit number from the device, which you will get everytime you press the button on the device. That number is time-sensitive, as in it only lasts for a few seconds, after which you will be given a different number when the button is pressed. Presumably the sequence of numbers, which is unique to the device, need to match the same sequence stored in the HSBC authentication server in time. But how this device can be time synchronised to the server is rather intriguing. My initial guess was it must have a very stable clock that drift very little, hence allowing it to remain closely matched to the server’s clock for a long time. But after experimenting a few times, I have to say that this little device is not as sophisticated as I first thought. Although the numbers on the device keep changing every few seconds, it does not mean that the old number are no longer valid for logging in. I would say the number has a useful timeframe of about at least half a minute, althought I haven’t really stretch-test it :).To sum up, rather than relying on customers to change one set of their passwords every so often, this device changes for them periodically, which is certainly a step forward in terms of securing their login details. But I won’t say I’m overwhelmed by this gizmo.