Sunday, July 1, 2012

Banking update

This follows on from my earlier post titled 'Should I open a Standard Bank Account? No you should not'.

I know you were all on the edge of your seats waiting to hear how it turned out, so here's a little update:

I did go back to the bank the following day to close my new accounts. But first I emailed the branch supervisor, Moira and directed her to my blog post. So when I arrived at the bank, Moira was expecting me and met with me herself (I did have to wait 35 minutes first though). To her credit, Moira was professional, to the point, and quite understanding of why I was upset. She got all the details from me, made a copy of the other person's statement that I had received in the post, and has since escalated it to a higher level. She helped me close my accounts, and even went as far as having all charges, including the R1240 initiation fee, credited back into my account. Turns out the initiation fee is a percentage of your total loan amount. I took a loan that was double what I really needed 'just in case', which meant I would've paid double the initiation fee. I still think it's a bit off-sides that Koovi, knowing I was only going to activate half the loan amount and only needed half, didn't tell me that I would be paying extra for that 'in case' amount! Thankfully, Moira sorted that out.

She also told me that there was currently a bad batch of new Standard Bank cards and that quite a few people had cards that weren't working. Two people came into the bank with the card complaint while I was there, and I saw a few complaints about it on the Standard Bank facebook page as well. Strangely enough, the rest of Standard Bank's staff did not seem to know about this bad batch of cards - they had insisted I had made a mistake with my pin, and even on the Facebook page, nobody was telling people about the problem or what they should do if they they had one of the bad cards. Surely it's not that hard to make an internal announcement, and post something on the website or FB page for their customers, or send an sms warning people? I read one post about a lady who had filled her tank and was stuck at the petrol station not being able to pay... and had to wait a few hours for someone to come and rescue her!! I'll bet she's loving Stranded Bank right now.

Anyway, all that aside, Moira was great, and kudos to her for saving a little of the bank's dignity. I have however, opened my accounts with FNB since then... and I haven't had to go into a bank once!  Things have gone pretty smoothly. I have loads of control over my accounts on-line (which were automatically linked for me), I can set my own limits on-line,  and I even have someone I can email directly should I have any problems or questions. What took about 5 hours of my life with Standard Bank has taken me probably one hour to do with FNB (if I add up all the time I've spent filling in forms, scanning, uploading, going on-line, activating things by phone, etc) but more importantly - I have felt looked after! They have gone above and beyond expectations already. For example - you email them the debit orders you want transferred to your new account and they not only take care of it for you but they also follow up and phone you when they can't, and then help you as far as possible: My medical aid would not transfer my debit order without my permission, so FNB phoned, told me I had to contact my medical aid myself to do it, and then, wait for it... gave me the exact number and email address to use to contact them. That's 5 minutes less hassle for me. And I appreciate it! My only worry now is that Standard Bank may have stuffed all that up, because just the other day I got an sms from SB saying they had successfully transferred my debit orders to my new Standard Bank account. Huh? But that account was closed like 2 weeks ago?! And FNB had already transferred my debit orders. So we'll wait and see.

In the meantime, I'm quite excited about trying the FNB app.  Oh! And! They are actually going to save me a bit of money in the long run, with their much lower interest rate (9.9%) on their Balance Transfer option for consolidating your debts. Happiness.

Some people say banks are all the same, but I don't.

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