Saturday, September 5, 2009

Credit Card Purchase Verification / Liability

I recently got a bill for my HSBC credit card and it included an annual fee charge of more than a hundred dollars. So I called them up to ask them to waive it. I always say, 'would it be possible for you to waive the charge?' when really, we all know that this is not only possible, but something that the banks are more than happy to do.

Sidetrack: UOB has an interesting twist to this. When you call them up and get the automated 'press 1 for credit card, press 2 to.. ' they include a 'press x to waive your credit card annual fee'! So I tried it once and it was processed without any human intervention. However, some time later, I forgot that I had done it, and tried it again. The funny thing was that it also processed my second request for the annual fee waiver! So in the next bill, I got more than a hundred dollars in credit for the second waiver. So I called them up and told the person to remove the windfall. She said 'thank you for your honesty.'

Anyway back to UOB. The lady of course was very nice and more than willing to waive the annual fee. However, she also said I needed to use the card at least once. I said, sure. She said, 'OK I'll waive it now.' It's just a formality, I didn't really need to use the card. But just for the sake of completeness, I decided to use the card to buy a $10 gift card from for my Kindle book purchases.

Now this is new. An hour later, someone from HSBC called me up and asked whether I had just used the card to spend at Amazon for a gift card. I said, yes. He said, good, just a routine check.

I like this routine check, especially since we were told recently that we aren't going to get much protection from banks if something goes wrong with our credit cards. (Yesterday, the banks announced that there will be a $100 liability cap if no negligence is involved. I'm not sure of the details, however.) I never worried about my overseas purchases as I'd assumed that the banks would always reverse the charge if it was fraudulent. I'm not so sure now. Hopefully the 'consumer watchdog' in Singapore and the banks clarify things soon.


Kg Folk said...

Oh, i didn't realise in Sg, it's so easy to press number and can get annual card fee waived?
In Malaysia, I need to called up and fax a letter every year until I got fed up. So last year, I 'scolded' the officer as the bank's management is poor and wasting human resources to do the waiving every year. i put in a letter asked for waiving n suggesting auto waiving. This year I got auto waiving without faxing a letter, haha.

jeffyen said...

hehe It's not 'wasting resources'. Some people don't ask the bank to waive, so the banks can collect the annual fee. They WANT to earn some money this way!

Of course, some consumers are smarter and the banks don't want to be forced to cancel the customer's account because the customer will 'threaten' to cancel the card. :)