Friday, April 30, 2010

SBI Credit card verification-Double standards

This post shares a little experience I had with SBI Credit cards. If the subject doesn’t interest you, check the March archives here.

I happened to apply for a SBI Credit card recently and everything went smooth till verification process. Here’s the story after the telephonic verification process began:

SBI Credit Card Call Centre Lady (CCL from now on): “Hello sir, I’m calling from SBI regarding your credit cards. I need to verify your name, address and other details sir…”

I gave the details and verification done. Then the CCL says “Sir you’ll be charged Rs 250 as one time fee and you’ll have to spend 25000 every year”

Me: “I wasn’t informed of this before. If this is the case please cancel my application, I don’t need it”
CCL: “Ok Sir”

Next I get the call from agent, who said “Sir it is free for you sir, don’t worry about it”
I got the call again, wherein CCL repeated the line stating the Rs 250 charge and 25k usage obligation. I said “I’m told it is free for me. You can process the application if it is free, else cancel it”

Next, the agent’s boss calls me to say “Sir, you just have to say yes when they mention about the fee and limit.. You’re working in a good company with good designation, it won’t be applicable to you. It is an RBI regulation which requires us to say that, as many users do not use their card and bank suffers a loss. You don’t worry sir, just say yes.. even if something is charged we’ll reverse it”

I replied “If it is free for me, then your representatives should state the same. Why am I being asked to accept some terms on record while you’re saying they’re not applicable to me”

Agent’s Boss: “Its an RBI requirement sir. Its Chennai level verification sir, they won’t be knowing that its free for you, they ask same thing to everyone. After that there’ll be national verification sir. You don’t have to worry, just say Yes”

Me: “If RBI regulation requires you to charge a user some money you charge it… Just that I don’t want a credit card with such obligations. I’m not comfortable with these double standards”

CCL gives another try, I stick to my line, asking her to process it if and only if it is completely free and free from any minimum usage obligations.

A different lady calls, doing the sweat talk again, rewording what Agent’s Boss had mentioned, suggesting that I should just accept to what the verification lady says and they’ll take care of everything. I reiterate my stand, she does some more sweet talk, I’m not convinced and I disconnect.
CCL calls again, I repeat my stand

Agent’s Boss calls again, asking “What seems to be the problem sir?” I wasn’t interested in wasting any more time on this and told him to cancel my application. There were some more calls after that which I didn’t take.

Did you face similar situation? They just wanted me to accept on record some terms I wasn’t comfortable with, while promising me off the record that these terms are not applicable to me. Do you think the verification process are a joke? Verification team seems to be awarded for the no of applications they process and not no of applications they reject (due to various reasons) Most of the time, if you do not know the details, reps would call you from an alternate no, give you all the details and call back from official no (which is recorded)..
Update: About one week later I get an sms from them stating my application is being processed…No idea what they’re upto… Need to tell them to back off…

Related post: My first investment experiences * 


Trails of a Traveler said...

I wish this is seen by someone in RBI.
These banks would not even mind doing brothel to push the credit cards to people.
I find credit card useful, but only to the extent of not needing to carry cash always. Otherwise it is always best to have savings and by products within what one can afford.

Some people take credit card, buy whatever they wish to and then either suffer or just do not care about paying. This will not only affect their financial position, but also the countries economy.

If not used wisely this is a very dangerous thing to the entire nation.

Good that you refused their offer. Hope more people follow the principles...

The wild said...

My dad has rejected several such credit cards,here in India rules are meant just to be broken

there is scant respect for what rules are ,less than 5% understand what are RBI guidelines,what do u mean when you say you accept the rules.

banks in india abuse rules like this always ,there are several such instances of rule violation in other areas banks deal with as well

ಸುಶ್ರುತ ದೊಡ್ಡೇರಿ said...

My god.. thats absurd! Thanks for this post..

Mridula said...

Thanks for sharing this but I too hold a card that is free though not from SBI and I have been with them since donkey's years!

Mohan said...

Yes, I had a similar experience with ABN Amro Bank Credit Card. They promised exorbitant deals at very low cost along with some 40% cash back on every purchase.. I sensed something really fishy, but they found a way to deceive me by saying it is only for our most valued customers who have been choosen randomly by a computer! Ah.. i got the clue there, though I denied hesitantly, they took me to verification agent over phone who asked me a similar question about 1st year fee and all while the other person had said it was all free!

I stood by my view of not saying YES to improper and misleading statements in the name of verification.

Tarun Mitra said...

I am rather rude to such calls as I have realised that the bankers are only fair weather friends..

Anu Menon said...

I've never been able to process anything successfully with SBI. i had issues with DMAt as well as a credit card... Noone seems to have any clue about the actual details at all :(

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I too wish RBI takes note.

I use credit cards to save 1 month sb interest, by timing the purchase and payments.

The Wild:

ಸುಶ್ರುತ ದೊಡ್ಡೇರಿ sir,
Thanks for dropping by.

HSBC attempted to charge me Rs 2000 as annual fee last yr and had to get it reversed after escalations. Most of the banks give it free, but search for ways to mint more money from their customers

Thanks for sharing your experience with ABN Amro... All banks outsource credit card sales to local agencies, who never care about ethical business practices


:) Better try with some other bank.

Bhupesh said...

RBI have been quite active nailing banks on such malpractices. It is not enough to blog, you should complain to Bank also to Banking Ombudsman of your area. If you have recorded your application number (You can get it from calling bank' call center) you can mention that in your complain.

Some links for reference:

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sure Bhupesh, thanks for the links. Will bring this to the attention of one of those officials

Indrani said...

Hmmm... an eye opener.

Shrinidhi Hande said...



Sheshu Kumar Inguva said...


Even i have some requirement like Photo credit card with SBI, till they took the form everybody in the line said that i will get a Photo card. But as the verification call started they say its not photo card And i got 2 calls daily trying to convince Non-Photo card is as good as photo card. I said i have enough cards without photo and i don't want their card, they don't want to accept. And they are telling the same story that RBI telling them Not to give photo... and threatening me that i cant get SBI card in life time if i miss this opportunity...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

There is nothing like lifetime'll be eligible in future

Marks Spencer said...

Credit cards companies always use different tactics to get the customers. Good that you refused.

Shrinidhi Hande said...