We sometimes forget how clued up we are in banking and
finance. In fact, I wonder how often we
step out of the world of banking and see things through the eyes of the customer. Very rarely I imagine, if at all.
How often does Stuart Gulliver walk into his HSBC branches
and listen to what customers are saying?
Does Antony Jenkins sit in any shops or taxis and ask them what they
understand about APR? And can you
imagine Jamie Dimon going down to the local pub to chinwag about overdraft
I don’t see it somehow.
Instead, most customer knowledge is generated through focus groups,
surveys, research agencies, consumer analytics companies and other ‘outsourced’
That’s all well and good, but does it get the truth?
I ask this as I was sitting in a taxi yesterday and the guy
started to tell me about a run-in he had with a prepaid card company.
The issue was that he urgently needed to send his girlfriend
£100, and regularly used a prepaid card to do this. However, on calling the card company, they
told him he had reached his limit of transactions on the card for the month and
they could not make another payment.
Apparently, he uses his prepaid card for everything and had
made 60 transactions already this month.
The card still had £250 of value stored, and he desperately wanted to
move the funds. They refused. When he challenged the reason why, they
stated that they would lose their emoney licence if they allowed users to
transact above a certain number of money movements per month or year.
So he demanded the balance on the card be credited back to
his bank account, so that he could send her the money that way.
They agreed, and said it would take 7-10 working days before
it would appear in his account and would be subject of a fee. At this point, the taximan was livid and
could not understand these rules and processes.
I could see his point of view, and did wonder how anyone who
is not in the industry could really understand our complex procedures, rules and
regulations. It’s all well and good saying it’s in the terms and conditions,
but who reads those?
Anyways, my driver was forced to take a payday loan. At least their rules are clear.
Just for clarity, here are the Financial Services Authority
(FSA) rules related to emaony and prepaid cards and the PDF of the Electronic Money Regulation published in 2011 (I’m not sure this wil help him though).
Meantime, I'm off to see if I can spot Ross McEwan in my local NatWest branch.