HSBC Thinks You're Incompetent

Remember when I said that HSBC thinks you're stupid?

You won't believe this (or perhaps you will), but the bank has upped the ante on its security device. It now charges business customers HK$100 to issue or replace the device, unless they apply via Internet banking. If customers use phone banking, visit a branch, or even mail in a form, they'll be dinged a hundy.

Why? Because HSBC can, silly. The bank even published a Frequently Asked Questions document, probably to stem the flood of complaints over its bald-faced rapaciousness.

Beware of HSBC

For example (try to ignore the atrocious grammar):

Why is there a fee for the issuance / replacement of Business Internet Banking security device?

This is the Bank's business decision to apply fee on Business Internet Banking security device issuances / replacement, which is in line with market practice. It is also the Bank's intention to encourage customers safe-keeping of the Business Internet Banking security devices against losses and damages.

So HSBC not only thinks you're stupid, but incompetent.

And what market practice is it referring to: the practice of finding new and inventive ways to put its hand in our pockets?

Why is Business Internet Banking security device issuance or replacement not charged to applications placed via Business Internet Banking?

At HSBC, we encourage customers to carry out their transactions / instructions by making use of their Business Internet Banking. Only security device applications that submitted via Branches, PhoneBanking or mail-in to HSBC, will be charged.

Translation: we're so lazy we can't be bothered to do our jobs; it isn't enough that you're already doing most of the legwork, we demand that you reduce our workload whenever and wherever possible.

If my Business Internet Banking security device runs out of battery, and I need to request for a new one, will the charge be applied?

Before your Business Internet Banking security device runs out of battery, there will be a reminder displayed on the device itself (i.e. 5 weeks prior to the estimated battery life run out), to alert customers the need for replacement. We encourage you to submit the security device application via Business Internet Banking, which no charge will be applied. However, if the replacement application is submit via Branches, PhoneBanking or mail-in to HSBC, the fee of HK$100 per will be charged per security device.

Translation: by encourage we mean force, because you now have no choice (unless you have money to burn). Either we're too indifferent to develop a device that allows customers to replace the battery, or we did it by design, because if your device dies, you won't be able to login to Internet banking, and ha-ha, we've got you.

You can feel the hubris dripping from every word of the FAQ; first the bank compels customers to use the device, and then it restricts service and penalises those who can't or won't use Internet banking.

I suppose this sort of thing should be expected from a bank that got into bed with drug traffickers and terrorists and got away with it.

When you're that big, you can do pretty much whatever the Hell you want.

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Big White Guy is the personal web site of Randall van der Woning, who hails from Canada but has lived in Hong Kong with his wife Mabel for the past 15 years. Randall is a photographer, photography teacher, and writer.

Seriously ... Big White Guy? The nickname was given in Canada but was shortened to BWG, because this wouldn't be the Internet if we didn't initialise everything.

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