eBanking = eNfuriating

I need to transfer some money to an account in Noosa Heads as my solicitor is running behind on the payments for his new Maserati... And he wants an email of confirmation when the deed is done, preferably in 7 days from... oops, this payment was due last week. Ne'ermind...


Attempt 1: NAB (Australia)

OK, simple. As the invoice is asking for Aussie Dollars, I'll simply transfer it from the funds in my (still active, 10 years later) National Australia Bank eBanking account in Geelong. To get this straight: *I* am in Singapore but the bricks and mortar and presumably, the cash, are in Geelong...

Log-on with no problems - no 2FA security token requirements here. Just token security requirements, ha ha! Ha... Hey! Reminder to self: don't put much money in any NAB account, internet "security" is absolutely ratshit.

Transfer??? Nope. NAB only allow transfers to linked accounts and to registered BPay vendors (like GIRO or something here in Singapore). My lawyer isn't a BPay vendor, he's a wannabe Maserati driver.

How useless is this NAB internet banking? Very, is my contemplated answer. If only they had some decent programmer working for them... (little jibe at the No1 son, who is very aware of his employer's imitations. [Oops, Freudian slip there - Limitations!]) So, I log out and scratch my head. Think of another account with AUD in it, E@L ...



Attempt 2: OCBC Singapore

I have an AUD account here so this should be easy, right? Wrong.

One good thing (there had to be one) is that they have a nice "Notify The Recipient" function at OCBC which automatically sends everybody an email when the transaction is done. I like that, saves me hunting up excuses when the rent is overdue, etc... Which reminds me... I set up a replacement of my recurring transaction with the new rent - a 57% increase! Oops, the new rent is OVER my daily transaction limit! Changing transactions limits? Not a problem here online at the OCBC, although the maximum is a measly SGD $10k per day. I set the limit (to the maximum as my rent is now above the second highest setting, to give you a hint) and enter the 2FA token code for a verification. Away I go, no problemo, that was easy, lets finish this!

Then I go to the Funds Transfer page, but I forgot about one small fact. Sigh. They won't let you do foreign currency transactions on-line. ANY foreign currency transactions. You need to go physically, like meat-space-wise, into the bank, like bricks-and-mortar-wise, with your ID, fill in a form, sign it, and let THEM do the TT, get it stamped by the supervisor, etc... 2FA tokens don't do let you do that here at OCBC. I am at home, not in the office where there is an OCBC branch downstairs, so, cannot!

I log out and scratch my arse.



Attempt 3: HSBC (HK)

I have *heaps* of AUD in my account in HK as I closed down some Euro managed funds that looked like they were being mismanaged by the "Room Full of Monkeys" Dept of Go4Broke Investments, and got them over in case I need some ready for the deposit or fees on the condos in Noosa or Townsville. (Let it be known that this, my life savings [i.e. last five years] is only a fraction of the money I need to actually PAY for these condos. Come September next year I'll have to talk really nicely to the banks in Singapore...) Why did I put those funds into the HSBC(HK) AUD account which only pays 2.5% on a savings account and not the OCBC AUD account which pays 5% you ask? Because I am an idiot.

I login to HSBC (HK) on the third attempt, after getting all my other passwords mixed up in my head. I thought at first that I might have been transcribing the 2FA token's code incorrectly, or even using the wrong 2FA token - I have three of course; OCBC, HSBC (HK), HSBC (Sing) - but no, I was just reading the Excel file with all my passwords incorrectly. Aside: of course the iMac does not have a nice easy automatic password program like the one (name escapes me) I use on my XP desktop (it doesn't run on my Vista laptop, either.)

Phew, any way I am on. OK, I go to the International Transfer page, enter all the bank details, the currency and amount, the message to the recipient so he knows the money is coming from me, etc... and I press SUBMIT.

Nope. My transfer limit is currently set to HK$0! WTF! Zero? Sigh. There is a PDF form I have to download, print out, sign and *snail mail* to Hong Kong if I want to up my transfer limit! I thought this was going to be the easy one! Damn!

I log out and scratch the maid's arse accidentally as she vacuums around my desk.

(Upping the transfer limit is something I have to do urgently anyway, as I need to get my funds to Singapore in order to take advantage of the higher rates, yeah?)



Attempt 4: HSBC (Sing)

The problem here is that I don't have an AUD account, which means I am going to suffer rectally by way of an exchange-rate raping. This is why I've left it as my last option. Damn. Sigh. Well, ne'ermind, I'm just going to have to bend my knees up, breathe out slowly, and sing a jaunty Scottish air, I guess. "OOoooOOOOooooh, me name is MacNamara I'm the leader of the band"

It's a lucky coincidence that I can get on to HSBC (Sing) at all. The internet account had faded out of existence as I hadn't used it for a whole year. Then, last month when for some prescient reason unknown to me at the time, I thought I should reactivate it. Lucky hey? I login with the same old password, but with the new 2FA token and check my balance in SGD.

Shit, it's going to be very close, as I have just mailed out a cheque for my AMEX bill using this account. Maybe I should do a top-up?

I log-in again at the OCBC account and transfer a coupla grand SGD across, enough to cover the AUD transaction AND the Amex bill should they hit together the desk of the meek, bespectacled, accountant who sits out back of the HSBC, with his metal-elastic arm-bands holding up his shirt sleeves against the dangers of his cuffs getting caught in the bean-counting machine... Sigh.

I logout of OCBC again and log back into HSBC (Sing). I suppose I could try to open an AUD account there at HSBC (Sing) as well, but where would I transfer the funds from? No, leave that... I get onto the international transfer page, do the deed, and FINALLY the money (in SGD) gets sent (in AUD)... and after the rate-raping I have this feeling of defilement and shame...

Now to notify the solictor so he can get the wheel-clamps off his Maserati. As I said - where you listening? are you still reading? - in the OCBC this would be easy (if I could even DO an international funds transfer) however, in HSBC (Sing) there is no way of automatically emailing the transaction details to the recipient. Hey I realize, even *I* don't get emails, ANY emails, from this bank, they send notifications by snail-mail instead.

Time to change preferences.

I find the correct page and set-up for e-notices in the future. The future? Shit, I didn't get a copy of the transaction summary with all the details to copy across to GMail... I try to go back in the browser and find that summary, but the page is blocked now. I do manage to find an account summary page which has some of required information, and try and right-click copy the details... but the HSBC security doesn't allow right-clicks or indeed Command(Ctrl)-C shortcuts. Read it and weep, is their motto, obviously. So I transcribe the details manually, send the email myself.

And yes, I sigh.

I log off and mentally scratch the arse of my solicitor's damn fncking Maserati with a screwdriver for putting me through all this...

HSBC (Sing): PASS (with a push)


Till next statement date,


p.s. DOMS is back - after 5 days of swimming 20-30 mins, I took 2 days off to drink beer, bourbon (to kill the taste of PepsiMax, yuck!) and wine with friends and flatmates. I went for a swim again this morning and had to stop after 15 mins due to arm pain and aches. Ow, wow, ow! My forearms especially are killing me, aching and stiff... Hangon, what's this tube sitting here conveniently? Voltaren Gel? Yes, orange tube, I love you!


Posted by: expat@large on Aug 15, 08 | 5:47 pm | Profile


I had similar issues with my international transfers online. You know the feature is there and just assume that it is going to work. So not until you need it do you fund out that you need to pre-authorise yourself to send your own money...

Posted by: sino man on Aug 17, 08 | 7:47 pm

Still haven't heard back from HK re: changing my transfer limit...

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 20, 08 | 9:41 am

the HSBC security doesn't allow right-clicks or indeed Command(Ctrl)-C shortcuts

print screen

Posted by: knobby on Aug 28, 08 | 11:03 am

Knobster: yep, or the screen snipping tool I have on the PC. Didn't think of that.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 28, 08 | 12:02 pm


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