With great excitement I read about and applied for the new Maybank Visa debit card. Unfortunately the new Maybank Visa debit card has limited usefulness.
Update 090910 – A year on things look a little different. Maybank seems to have caught up with debit card features
First, Maybank has been a wee bit slow with all this.
Available for yonks overseas
In, South Africa where I’m from, for example, which isn’t exactly known for leading the planet in the technology stakes, I’ve had a card that was no different to a credit card (embossed numbers and name, hologram, Visa logo, CCV) in 2001 already.
From any merchant’s point of view, in an actual store or online, it was a credit card and was treated as such. For me, the only difference was that instead of paying my purchases off monthly, I paid for them immediately.
Locally the market has been with-it for a while
Malaysia didn’t have a card like this until late last year (and believe me, I looked). So simple: function llike a credit card, but instead of a credit account, use my actual account.
Then AmBank (bless their souls) made it to the market first with the NexG prepaid debit card. Finally, a solution for people who wanted to do online transactions but, like me, couldn’t get a credit card. The prepaid debit card is convenient in that you can use it anywhere you can a credit card, but it’s inconvenient as you have to keep on reloading it.
And for me, a non AmBank customer, it’s not always convenient to find an AmBank to reload the card. Another drawback of the NextG is that you can’t make PayPal withdrawals with it, because it’s a Mastercard, and in Malaysia PayPal only wants Visa.
A few months later Tune Money filled that gap when, in collaboration with CIMB Bank, they offered the Tune Money Prepaid Debit card in a Visa flavour. Props to Tune Money for actually putting your name on it too. And with that came the ability to draw money from PayPal. Patontheirbacks.
However, it was still a bank other than my bank and thus still not very convenient with having to reload the card constantly – plus, they actually charge you to put money in your card.
Then at long last Maybank decided to join this new market of direct spending via credit card channels.
You would think that they had nearly a year to watch and observe what worked and what didn’t, and why it work. You would think they would then come up with the ultimate product.
True, they a few things right:
- It’s linked to your account instead of being a prepaid card and thus no annoying top-ups;
- It’s Visa, and PayPal likes Visa;
Merely for the fact that it’s now the new, standard account card, it means that millions will soon be using it, automatically stomping on the market share of the other prepaid offerings. Or so it may seem.
However, Maybank slipped up on one particular issue, which with Malaysia’s huge online community might just be a very big issue.
It will cause people to not only not dump their prepaid cards, but will most likely reinforce the bond they have with their Tune Visa for instance:
The New Maybank Visa debit card cannot be used for Internet transactions.
The leading bank is following
No use on the Internet?
I’m sure they have their reasons. It’s most likely security related, because once you let those cards loose online, people’s bank accounts can be emptied out, unlike a prepaid card where the damage can be limited.
But as this is not a unique product and not the first time Visa has done something like this (refer to my 2001 experience in South Africa, for instance), why couldn’t they get their acts straight in preparation for the Malaysian market which obviously yearns for something like this?
Word from the call centre
Last night I used the debit card to buy petrol for RM50 at Shell (Yay! Previously I could only use Petronas if I didn’t want to pay cash).
However, this morning I check Maybank2u.com and there’s a charge of RM200 on my statement, so I give the good people at Maybank’s call centre a call (1-300-88-6688, Accounts & Finance option).
The operator said the amount is like a block at a hotel. When you check in, a hotel would reserve an amount on your card, usually that of your room, so in case you don’t have credit they will know this immediately, or if you run away without checking out they already have authorisation on your card with which they can deduct the money.
Why this would be required at the petrol station just doesn’t make sense. You put the card in and immediately get the product. Also, said the operator, this will happen every time you do it, even if you do it twice a day. A requirement from Visa, she said.
And if you only have RM150 in your account when you want to get fuel? Well, she said, then the transaction will be declined. The block is usually removed within 3 – 5 working days (is the official statement, although other blog entries have said a day or so).
While I had her on the phone I asked about online purchases. I tried adding this card to PayPal, and I tried to buy something small off the Internet. Both transaction were declined.
It’s not, she started saying and I knew what was coming, enabled for the Internet. She didn’t say “yet”, she didn’t offer any other glimmer of hope. I was gob smacked, as I thought I had the ultimate card.
So I asked if there were any plans to enable it for online transaction. Yes, she said tentatively, somewhere next year. Apparently they will let customers know. Whoop de friggen do.
If you’re somebody who runs through stores swiping their card, this card will be useful to you in a few additional places compared to your plain, vanilla Maybank card.
Biggest bonus for me is to now be able to fill up at Shell with electronic money, even if they take RM200 off the card (before returning it of course… I hope).
But, if like me, you wanted to make purchased on the Internet and thought this was another option for PayPal, well, you’re going to be disappointed, as the new Maybank Visa debit card has limited usefulness.