Newsflash: Standard Bank doesn’t need any more customers!

Banks are funny things… they charge you a horrendous amount of money to use one of their branches (in an attempt to save you money by using the electronic services), but then when you do need to go into a branch (because some things can’t be applied for online) they make it such a miserable experience, that i just want to scream…

i’m travelling to west africa soon, and for that trip i would like a VISA credit card, because MasterCard is not accepted everywhere in the developing world. Standard Bank now offers a VISA card too, so i thought i would get one from them as i am already a customer.

So i go into the branch earlier this week to find out the application procedure and the fees, and i am told:

– that MasterCard does the same thing as VISA and i don’t need one. (i explain that they’re not accepted everywhere, according to the guide books, and my own experience)

– that the guide books are promoting VISA and descrediting MasterCard (huh?? why would they do that?)

– that applications for VISA are often rejected, and i don’t actually need one.

(Eventually he does give me the fees involved, which are not much)

Proof Number One that the bank doesn’t need more business – no product knowledge or desire to sell it.

Today i went into the branch again, at about 3pm, to now apply for this card. i had my documents with me, signed in and started to wait while the receptionist looked for a credit card application form that i could complete so long. She also told me that there is only 1 consultant on duty, so i would need to wait.

it took her 10 minutes to find a form (which i was later told is not used anymore…) and in those 10 minutes the following happened:

– one client that had been waiting for 30 minutes got up and left

– i heard lots of laughter from the consultants area – went to investigate and saw a consultant happily sitting at her desk with no-one there, while we were all waiting. i mentioned to her that there are people waiting and that the bank had in fact just lost a client that walked out. she didn’t seem particularly fazed.

– she eventually came out after 10 minutes, and i mentioned to her that, just out of interest, she had just lost some more business, because someone else had just left. At this point she told me that she was actually dealing with a client (Mr Invisible and his see through partner??) but that i could speak to the manager if i wanted – which i wanted!

She gave her version to the manager first, out of my ear-shot, but looking at me with daggers all the time, and embellishing the story ever so slightly (for effect i’m sure).

the manager asked me what she could do for me – and i told her that it’s not about me, but that they had lost 2 potential clients because there is only 1 consultant on duty;

i told her that banks close at 15h30 – early, so they can “do admin” – but then they are doing admin & not seeing clients during the working hours?! how is that justified?

Proof Number Two that they don’t need business – not at all fazed by clients leaving unassisted.

Eventually i do get to see a consultant – that same lady of course – and i ask to apply for this credit card. She looks at my profile on her system and says that i already have a MasterCard…? I don’t want the whole thing again, so i just say i want a VISA card in addition please.

She calls card division (the same number we mere mortals call, surprisingly…) and is told that applications for the VISA card have been put on hold. that despite them advertising the card, they cannot issue it or accept applications. and they don’t have any idea when this is going to be resolved.

Proof Number Three that they don’t need business – can’t offer an advertised product.

so the only thing i gained from my 2 visits to “my” bank this week, was a lot of bad mood and anger… the only eben-more frustrating thing is that if i moved my accounts elsewhere, it would be no better. but boy am i ready to move!

2 thoughts on “Newsflash: Standard Bank doesn’t need any more customers!

  1. … and what they did not tell you [but C. T. newspaper readers got to know a week or two ago] is that even a Visa card is not accepted everywhere. That is, the NEW Visa card, which cost an unfortunate South African enormous amounts of money when going to Australia and New Zealand where the card was rejected (and at the third attempt under “supervision” of a bank official “swallowed up”). He had hardly any cash along, relying on the new card. And since the new card is a “chip” card, machines overseas can’t always work with it. He had to make many tel. calls (cellphone!), one up to 45 minutes, to S. A. … and in the end he found out that even the bank’s helpline couldn’t help at all.
    What about travellers’ cheques?

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