I thought my last run-in with OCBC was bad. Apparently, I thought wrong. Two months have lapsed since my last purchase at OCBC and I have paid 2 installments on my Simmons purchase.
While shopping at Marks & Spencer in Plaza Singapura on Saturday morning before the boy’s music class, the wife spotted a pair of waterproof leather boots that was ideal for her use during our Japan trip at the end of the year. As the outlet did not have the size that she wanted, she got the staff to reserve a pair at Centrepoint for collection on Sunday. The year-end trip is with the in-laws, so my wife decided to bring her mum along the next day to see if she would also fancy a pair.
On Sunday, we made our way to Centrepoint. While the wife and mother-in-law were shopping, I decided to deposit some extra cash in my OCBC Savings account, in case I needed to top-up my credit card account, based on my previous experience. I walked over to the OCBC branch in Orchard Point to deposit the cash.
As anticipated, the total purchase price after shopping will exceed the limit that I had on my OCBC Robinsons Card, I tried to top-up my account via Internet Banking, as I did previously. After trying for 15 minutes and getting several “Service Not Available” messages on the Internet Banking site, I had to resort to topping up via the ATM at Orchard Point.
After the top-up, we proceeded to make payment for the purchase. To our surprise, the credit card purchase was declined. We requested the Marks & Spencer staff to try both my main card and my wife’s supplementary card again, but the transactions were declined.
Hence, I called the OCBC hotline and spoke to a customer service officer named Aidi. He checked on both my accounts and verified that the deposit I did, and the top-up I performed was reflected in my accounts. Puzzled, he had to check with his credit card department to understand why the transaction was declined, and asked if he could call back once he got to the bottom of the matter. Reluctantly, I agreed.
10 minutes later, he called back and explained that while the accounts reflected the top-up, the amount was not available until a batch run was processed. For those unfamiliar with such systems, a batch run is basically done to reconcile accounts. When I requested to know what time the batch run will be performed, he told me it was only done end of day. He told me that if I wanted the purchase to go through, I had to request for the Marks & Spencer staff to get a manual approval. To his credit, Aidi stayed on the line and waited for the manual approval to be done. Kudos to the Marks & Spencer staff for their patience and understanding too, throughout the whole process till the manual approval got through.
Based on these two incidents that I experienced, I have many questions to “Ask OCBC”. Since all the accounts are within the bank, shouldn’t the transfers be real-time? Why is there a need for an end of day batch run reconciliation? Why was this top-up different from my previous top-ups?
I suspect that my questions will go unanswered, as I previously suggested, “Ask OCBC for what?”