As we all know to our cost, today’s banks exist only to please their shareholders – customers to them are a necessary nuisance.
To make themselves feel good about this they put out a lot of spin – in advertising, in customer communications, during the endless waits one has to endure on the banking hotline – and having told us all how wonderful THEY are and how valued by them WE are (one of the great lies of the 21st century) they then proceed to make our banking life as difficult as possible.
Some months ago I decided I’d had it with the National Australia Bank. Not only had it closed my local branch it continued to give me very poor service and, worse, treat me like my husband’s inferior appendage! All banks are lousy at customer service but NAB in my experience is particularly poor at serving elderly customers and especially elderly women. So I transferred my two main accounts – one an operating account, the other purely for savings – to Westpac. The latter was chosen merely because it has the closest branch to where I live but it has proved a fortuitous choice because the staff (so far) are efficient and helpful (there are still times when one has to physically enter an actual bank branch) and the online site is more user-friendly than that of NAB.
However, I kept my Visa credit card with NAB for various reasons. The bastards won’t get the use of my hard-earned savings but they might as well continue to carry me on credit every month.
Anyway, a couple of days I get a new “low fee” card in the mail. No letter of explanation, just the information that it replaces my existing low feed card. Which I didn’t know I had. Turns out a “low fee” card is a new name for a credit card. The new card has a different number and expiry date. So I now have two cards, one valid for another year and a second one valid until 2022.
So I ring up the NAB to ask why. After spending 40 minutes with three different customer “service” people I still don’t really have an answer! It appears that in August NAB decided, following complaints from customers, that where two people with joint bank accounts had the same credit card (one primary user, one signatory) they now get a card each, different numbers, different SMS phone contact etc. Great idea – but it would have been nice if somebody had told me about it! But that’s not all – at the end of my third conversation I’m told that actually my lovely new silver “low fee” (read “credit” card has “no data on it” and it seems I can’t actually use it. Despite a sticker on the card that tells me my existing PIN has been transferred to it!
Luckily my “old” red Visa card will remain valid for another 60 days (but not for the 12 months still marked on it as the expiry date!). Or so I’m told!
Do I believe them? Only time will tell.
This is a bank that came of worse than most in the recent financial scandal. The bank that has made some appallingly inept top-level decision in recent years. Maybe if it started to improve customer service it might go some way to winning back public trust – but don’t hold your breath!