Forum: Banking services should be more consumer-friendly

DBS, OCBC and UOB ATMs at Tang Plaza.

I recently attempted to claim a cash voucher via a major local bank's redemption website.

I found that the website had been redesigned, and despite poring over the various menus, I was unable to locate the intended service.

I proceeded to call the bank's concierge service, and found myself navigating labyrinthine automated menus with inscrutable options in an effort to reach a customer service officer, further complicated by a confusing one-time password system.

When I was finally able to get hold of a human on the line, they informed me that the relevant bank officer was unavailable and would call me back later. Despite waiting the rest of the working day, I received no return call.

As a client of this bank since the 1960s, I had never before encountered such extreme obstacles for so mundane a procedure.

In their attempts to make remote transactions more secure, and cut costs through automation, banks have seemingly neglected customer needs and satisfaction.

Although I consider myself reasonably tech literate for an octogenarian, I found the user interface of the bank's website incomprehensible. One can only imagine what the experience might be like for senior citizens less acquainted with computers and smartphones.

The frustrating experience on the bank's hotline was also a far cry from the fuss-free phone banking of yesteryear.

I urge the consumer banking sector to do better for the more than 800,000 Singaporeans over the age of 65 who would rather not wrestle with poorly designed automatons.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2020, with the headline 'Banking services should be more consumer-friendly'. Print Edition | Subscribe