WARNING: DO NOT apply for credit cards just because the credit card salesman won't stop pestering you to fill up the form and cancel later. What kind of sales tactic is that? A trap to a consumer, most likely. Especially a consumer who was stuck manning a booth next to a credit card sales booth (read: ME). This posting is to illustrate why you should not rampantly apply for credit cards.

Last Friday, I took a day off to pay a visit to several banks and settle a few banking issues. Three banks to be exact. Sigh. It's really tiresome to be this rich :p

Bank #1

Firstly, there's this problem with one local bank of which I applied for personal loan to settle our house's MRTA and legal fees totalling nearly RM10,000. Since RM10,000 is too dear to part with, (there's a lot of things to do with that amount of money - we can buy two kitchen cabinets from IKEA for an instance, or we can go to Kota Kinabalu for our Mount Kinabalu ascension trip next year) we decided to get our aunty a bank to lend us the ringgits.

I was confident that the I will get instant approval because I honestly think I do not have bad financial track record. WRONG! I received a shocking call from the bank to inform that my application has been rejected due to a non-payment of my HSBC credit card. Wait a minute. I cancelled my credit card application before I even got the cards, how can I be charged for it?

Bank #2

So I called HSBC's customer service call centre to check this allegation. They confirmed that the cards had been cancelled, but it was only this year because I had not paid the annual charges. How can I pay the annual charges, I cancelled the cards and therefore, never received any statement! The CSA at the call centre was not very helpful. She kept asking for my previous home address when I was in JB and then told me to personally go to the nearest branch to settle the payment.

Bank #3

Before I lost more money to pay for non-existing cards, and because Suami Terchenta would not stop bugging me to save extra money this month to go to our first new house (dammit, I feel like cancelling the house purchase with all this financial hey-pening) I stopped by my bank to deposit half of my salary (bye-bye Bali anniversary getaway! Uwaaa!!) into ASB.

Back to why HSBC is the best when it comes to customer service...

HSBC Bukit Bintang branch is in Menara Genesis. To reach there, stop at Monorail Bukit Bintang station and walk a few metres and cross the road to a building with a big, hard-to-be-missed HSBC signboard. The bank occupied 5 levels (if not mistaken) and customer service is at Level 3. I like the way the bank makes everything personalized. Each CSA has their own desk which is kept sparsely from each other, so customers can have the privacy to air their banking problem.

I met with the Customer Service Manager himself, and he was ever so helpful. After giving a short recount of my problem, he immediately picked up the phone to contact the credit centre and checked the amount that is still accredited to my so-called closed account. In total, I was supposed to pay RM240+ before I can bid adieu to my problem. I bit my bottom lip and immediately switched mode to the rarely used 'damsel in distress' expression. It usually works. Including in this situation.

A few minutes later, he delivered the good news - my account has been cleared and all payment waived! No more blacklist from the bank! I can now go to as many aunties as I want to borrow money! Yippee!

I thanked the Customer Service Manager profusely and asked for a confirmation letter to show to Bank #1 that I have solved the credit card problem. Now, that's what I called 'First Class Service'. Kudos to HSBC Customer Service division! :)

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