AMITIAE - Wednesday 22 January 2014
Cassandra: e-Banking Aim and Miss
By Graham K. Rogers
Things ticked over for a year or so, but when a letter arrived with new terms and conditions, it was all in Thai. I felt then (and now) that rather than go through the process of asking a friend to translate, I would ask the bank. This was easier said than done. I was not able to find any English when using the automatic telephone system (unlike several other banks here), but managed to get through to a real person by guessing a number that might work.
It was a little harder to find someone who spoke English, but eventually I was connected; he may have missed the politeness training module. I outlined my problem with the Terms & Conditions. When I asked for an English version, I was told that the bank was "not really set up for non-Thais." I kept the card but am running it down now.
Another problem had been the late arrival of the statement each month. Other companies seem to be able to connect with the Thai post office with no difficulty, but on a couple of occasions the statement was late. When I complained about this, I was switched to an "electronic" version: an email arrived each month with a PDF of the statement. That was fine for a while.
In the meantime, when trying to contact the bank on problems, I tried the email link on the website. Despite using this on a number of occasions to request service, there has never been any response, leaving me with the option of the Thai-only phone link.
In September a new-style statement began to arrive. It was in colour - a dull brown - and came in the first days of the month (between 3rd -5th). An additional feature is that the PDF is now locked, but in the email (Thai and English) there are instructions on how to unlock this, including how the passcode is formed. Anyone with some basic knowledge of the account holder would be able to unlock the PDF.
I don't actually care: I owe them about 17,000 baht and just paid 2,000 baht this month: so there. My other credit card is used mainly for online purchasing, for clothes and the cake shop. I have few secrets. Other people will be different and this aspect may be of greater concern. This is a fop to security: like hiding a key under a flower pot.
On the rare occasions I visit a branch of this bank, the staff are polite and efficient. The credit card operation - including its low levels of English - is a different matter. With the AEC imminent, there needs to be some sharpening here to bring it up to the level of other banks I deal with.
I will be done with the Krungsri Ayutthaya bank soon.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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