New Maybank Visa debit card has limited usefulness

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.

The new, not as-useful-as-you-hoped-it-would-be Maybank Visa debitcardNew Maybank Visa Debit card to the fore

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:

  1. It’s linked to your account instead of being a prepaid card and thus no annoying top-ups;
  2. 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.

Inconclusive Conclusion

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.

16 thoughts on “New Maybank Visa debit card has limited usefulness

  1. darn! I just spent RM 12 to change my normal Maybank ATM Card to this card as I thought online purchasing are allowed and it is paypal enabled..

    If only I found your blog earlier…

  2. Yeah, I know Kairul, I feel cheated too.

    Turns out to fill up petrol now (Shell or Petronas) blocks RM200 on my card and only returns it 3 days later (although it may have been faster had it not been on a weekend). Very much less convenient.

    It really is just as useless as the previous card. Luckily I didn't cancel the Tune Money card.

    We can only hope Maybank is spurred on by all the bad posts and enable this card to be more useful really soon.

  3. Actually d $200 block 4 d petrol is set by d merchant, i.e. d petrol station. Nothing much can b done by d issuing Bank, i.e. Maybank. It will happen 2 any debit card issuer.

    Since the actual amount will only be posted to your account few days later, due to settlement arrangement (normally 1 to 3 days) between merchant's bank, Visa and your card issuer, u only ll get ur refund 4 d petrol station (block amt – actual amt) a few days later.

  4. I also change it because i tot it can do internet transaction. So anyone knows which debit card can do internet transaction?

  5. Hi Mickey – TuneMoney.com's VISA debit card is PayPal friendly, so apply for one of those online and then collection it from CIMB Bank.

    They have a series of service fees (to put money INTO your account for one, ha!) and you have to maintain a small minimum balance (I think it's RM30 or something).

    But if you're serious about online purchases and especially getting money out of PayPal, then as far as I know, they're the only option for us CreditCard-less ones.

  6. What? No online transactions? Damn it! I just changed mine today. What is Maybank thinking?? RM 12 is expensive for a card that functions exactly like the old one! How bout using it for reservation in say, restaurant?

  7. Yup, and it could be mine particular account, but I tried using this card in Singapore, both to pay at a Visa point of sale AND drawing money from 3 different banks all with Visa logos.

    Every time it said there was some sort of error, I should contact my bank – at the point of sale the error said "Do not honour this card".

    I still don't know what that's about, but surely won't rely on this card next time I'm not in Malaysia.

  8. Its disheartening to hear that it cannot be used for online purchases, and the block on petrol. I am just a student, how am I able to stash that much inside? Discovered anything else abt the card? Have you thought of Public bank's card or even RHB's new debit card?

  9. Likewise, I'm a very disappointed customer of Maybank Visa Debit. I really hope they would enable the internet transaction. After all, we have the daily limit, right?

    Felt so cheated, I ran to PB and applied for theirs. *sigh*

  10. Not sure why PayPal is so important. It is probably one of the redundant payment methods on the web now. It was useful many years ago, but much more secure and simple payment methods are available these days. Ideally, people will want to prevent any middleman from knowing card details. PayPal is one such middleman that should be got rid of.

    As for the 200-dollar preauthorization amount, it is a normal practice. This is because the total purchase price is known only after fuel has been delivered. It is not feasible to ask the issuing bank to deduct ten cents after every 50 ml of fuel is pumped. So, the logical way is to ask the issuing bank to deduct or hold a sufficiently-big amount of money, let fuel be delivered, and then inform the bank how much of the money is unused. I doubt petrol stations in South-Africa have a better way of doing this.

  11. Hi…i was reading this old post….everyone was complaining about how maybankcard is so useless when it comes to online purchase or paypal.

    anyway, its already Sept 2010, maybank have updated their maybankcard service. and voila…maybankcard is now paypal-friendly….

    just log on to your maybank2u account and do some setting/registration under utilities section and continue your card registration in paypal.

    but still, i prefer tunemoney card because at least, i dont want to impose any direct contact between my shopping evil spirit and my main saving account

  12. Totally agreed with you. I upgraded from my ATM card thinking that now I can shop online even without a credit card. Such a disappointment to find out that it doesn't support online transaction at all. What f**king different does it make from a normal ATM card except for the VISA sign? Sigh.

  13. Lost my ordinary ATM card and knew about it few days later. My account was deposited with cash and withdrawn few times. Of course, the net was a loss. How did this happen? How did the person know about my PIN and account number which enabled him to withdraw and deposit. Reported and was explained that withdrawals were through ATM at other banks/petrol stations and these places did not CCTV.

    I was then approached to have Maybank Debit Card. The RM 200 block for purchasing petrol is crab. You have to monitor if they credit back the balance. In short, DON'T trust any banks with their offers. Now, stop using it to pump petrol.

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