Thursday, February 15, 2007

customer service? don't bank on it.

Bermuda's debit card structure is similar to the US, both unlike Canada. In Canada, no matter which bank you're with, you can use your debit card at any of the millions of retailers that accept Interac. This is because all banks are nationalized & are thus efficient to offer this service. In America, the privatized banks are not about to spend exorbitant amounts of money to achieve this efficient payment structure. So like the American banks, my Bermudian bank issues me a debit card, which while has the VISA insignia on it, is not a credit but rather known by another name, the Visa Check Card. This would not be so confusing if America followed the Queen's English, for the card would be appropriately known as the Visa Cheque Card (It took me a while to figure out why they called it the VISA Check Card). Regardless of the way it's spelled, the danger with this type of card, however, is due to the direct link to your bank account, fraudulent activity is something you don't want occurring with your account.

A couple of months ago, I whipped out my card to pay for something at the drug store. It's been declined, they say. I was surprised because it couldn't have been lack of funds. I called anyway to check & sure enough everything was dandy. I figured it must have been the drugstore's system. But I couple of days later, I ran into the same problem at the grocery store. This was getting mighty annoying. I eventually went in to the bank & get a new card ordered. No explanation was given as to why the old one kept declining. Even more annoying.

Well, then came the news that a couple of months ago, a US based company, TJX Co. was hacked into.
The hacker stole customer information including their credit card info from the stores that TJX owned - stores that were in the US & Canada. Then it dawned on me that I did shop at exactly one of those stores in Georgia during our trip in June. OK, so the bank decided to play it safe & cancel my card. Smart proactive move! But you'd think they'd have given me a heads up, you know a customary call to say: Mam, we're going to have to cancel your card & reissue you a new one due to the security breach. I received no such call. But then that's how it is with the banks on the island. Customer service is a whole new ball game & perhaps the concept of Customer Service is lost on the representatives. Somehow, it's too much for them to pick up the phone to contact a customer to let them know what's transpiring with regards to his/her own account. I guess we're left to our own devices when it comes to banking & trying to get access to our own money.


King Joe said...

Oooo, sounds like someones starting to get disillusioned with BM? Is the novelty wearing off or are you still enjoying it?

Ms. Cute Pants said...

Hey King Joe, The novelty will never wear off. Not with a place so beautiful & warmer than Toronto. I am all about 'the grass is greener on my side'. The banks are a different matter. Ask anyone & they'll complain about it.

I also read both your blogs. Goa is practically my hometown. And good luck with the permit & job in Bermuda. It will take a while. That's just how things work here. Good Luck.

David said...

Hi there, I've enjoyed reading your blog about life in Bermuda. The bank thing reminded me of the problems with banks here in Japan.

For a country that has more mobile phones than people the banking system is totally backward.

Keep up the writing. I looking toward Bermuda as next move! Now I know how to make the sushi its time to find the fish!