Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Inconvenient Truth of Online Services in Singapore

Here's how I feel - if you can't guarantee the security or the convenience, don't freakin' offer online services. It's insane how inconvenient it is to use online services here in Singapore.

Pain in the ass part 1: Singtel
Every time I try and use Singtel's My Mobile site, apparently to "manage my mobile services," I feel like tearing my hair out. First off, finding the damn site to log in. The log is is NOT on the main page. It's hidden under a tiny tab on the left called My Mobile. When you finally get there, they request that you log in not with a personal ID and password that you've created, but your phone number and identity card number (in my case, coz I'm an alien, they ask for my FIN number). Then it goes to the next page, where you're supposed to key in a series of 8-unique numbers they call the password, sent to you via SMS by Singtel. Every time you log in, you have to wait for the damn numbers via SMS. So let's count the hurdles - I haven't even started complaining about the services - 1. Login site is near impossible to find. 2. I need to either have my FIN number with me everytime I log in or memorize it. 3. I absolutely need to have my cellphone next to me while I wait for Singtel to send me the "password." Insane.

Now to the best part - I recently moved and needed to change my billing address. You would think that would be the simplest thing to do next to viewing how much you owe them bastards. Nope. I can't check my recent bill, I can't check when it's due AND I can't change my address. I can't even view my current billing address. All I can do is add on services so they can charge me for. Woohoo. That's it, after ALL that hassle of logging in, the only thing I can is edit what they call "Value Added Services." I can add on Caller ID, customized billing, etc. but I can't view my bill. Great, huh? On top of all that, the Customer Service and FAQ section sucks. So what did I end up doing? I had to call Customer Service. Ugh.

Remember - I've managed to accomplish nothing by logging in to the My Mobile site. So you ask, how do I pay my bills? Do I go to the post office and mail my hard copy check? *gasp* I could, which is probably what most Singaporeans do, but no, I'm adamant about doing things from my computer. So after screaming my head off a couple of times, I finally figured that I could pay my Singtel bill through NETS, which is my debit bank account. Sigh. And, that brings me to Part 2.

Pain in the ass part deux: DBS
I can only speak for DBS because I don't have an account with other banks. Having to keep a minimum of $500 in one account is painful enough. Where should I start? Oh, to start using online banking, you have to personally go to an ATM, put in your card and activate online banking, what DBS calls "iBanking." And, I can't use online banking immediately, I actually have to wait for DBS to send me via snail mail a Security Device that looks like this (see below). So finally, when it finally arrives, I get to log in! Weee. I actually have to carry this thing around every time I want use online banking. To log in, DBS will request for my personal userID and my PIN number. Then it brings me to the next page where I have to enter another PIN number generated by the Security Device. Sigh. Like two sets of keys and an access card is not enough to bog me down. Now I have to carry around THAT. And it doesn't even do double duty as a thumb drive! Ish.

On the bright side though, once you get in, the DBS online banking is pretty decent, it actually lets you change your mailing address, do transfers, etc. But doing transfers is another pain in the ass because you actually have to verify each and every transfer you do through a confirmation that's sent to you via (no prizes for guessing) SMS.

Online banking aside, you can't drop off checks at every ATM. Insane isn't it? Only some ATMs offer check drops. Why do I need to drop off checks you ask? Well, for some reason, even though my company has my bank account number and my pay check is electronically transmitted to my account, they still cut checks for expenses. Sigh.

My feelings? Don't shout it unless it's true. And another complain for another day - don't believe everything you hear about the "efficiency" of Singaporean public transportation or that most Singaporeans can speak English - not true. Try walking into a coffee shop at a HDB estate.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Jiayu said...

audrey! i pay my bills thru vpost.... electronic bills online, its pretty convenient u can view ya bills in pdf. but, but its gonna b quite a pain registering a vpost acct to start with, lol https://www.vpost.com.sg

u'll get wad i mean :)

7:10 AM  

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