Debit Card/ Credit Card- Service Annoyance or Service Utility

Posted by BankInfo on Sun, May 22 2011 11:56 am

The usage of Debit Card and Credit Card has increased dramatically since past couple of years and its user has been growing exponentially in the country. This great service undoubtedly has gained popularity among the middle class, higher middle class and of course to the upper class citizen of the nation. People now feel safer and comfortable in carrying a single piece of plastic card rather than carrying a bundle of money with them.

All my childhood I grew up watching the advertisement of Sachin Tendulkar or Mr. Bond [Pierce Brosnan] holding their Master Card and since then I became a dreamer for those fancy cards [Though I didn’t know the difference between a debit or credit card back then]. And now today I am a proud member of two credit cards and a debit card by the grace of my Salary account.

Coming to the question, what exactly is the difference between a Debit Card and a Credit Card? To me its quite simple. Let’s assume that, I got my Salary of amount 50,000 TAKA [Not actual], and unlike back on old days, I don’t need to collect it from my Finance Department in hard cash, or collect it from a Bank using a check after waiting in a long irritating queue. The Bank has awarded me with a Card with which I can now go to an ATM booth, insert my security code, type an amount and hit enter to get my money. Yap, this is my debit card. It’s my own money that I am collecting and its over once it reaches the 50,000 limit. That’s the only use? Well, with this card I am now able to purchase many services like buying food, groceries, clothes or electronics. If the shops I am visiting supports Debit Card facilities then they will have a small Electronic Card Reader Box namely POS [Point of Sale] where they will scratch my card, enter the amount and hit enter. The amount I purchased will be deducted from my account, sounds cool huh? Exactly, and since the first day of its usage I am getting addicted towards it this day by day.

Ok, now that we have understood Debit Card, let’s explore the term “Credit Card”. Back to my old example, I have come to a point to take the card service to a bit higher level. Suppose I went to a shop in the last week of the month with 5,000 TAKA left in my account and found a cool White Summer Suit on sales that will cost me around 10,000 TAKA and will run out of sale soon if I don’t get it immediately. But I don’t have much money left in my wallet or on my debit card! What would I do then? Ah! Wish my bank would lend me some money for this couple of days so that I can repay them when I get my Salary. This is exactly when a Credit Card comes into play. A credit card is a form of borrowing. It allows you to 'buy goods now and pay later'. Credit Cards aren’t linked to your bank account. Like debit cards, they can be used to buy goods in shops with the same details being required for a debit card. You can also get a cash advance by drawing money at bank cash machines but the interest will be charged on daily basis. Your bank may offer you a credit card, or you can apply for one to any institution for example American Express. Think twice before using a credit card, if you don't repay your bill by its due date you will be charged with a heavy interest rate for that month.

If Debit Card and Credit Card are so useful and why did I placed the phrase “Service Annoyance” at the top in the title bar. Well, truth be told, I am not cursing these cards, they are very loyal to me but problem lies at the back end- people supporting this services. Let me share some of my bitter experiences while using these cards. It happens so many times that I took some of my friends for a treat and it ended up in total embarrassment, why? because my cute little loyal card won’t work in POS [The stupid box that failed to read the magnetic strip of my Debit Card/Credit Card]. It happens so many times that those shops claiming to have the American Express [Credit Card] facilities but apologizing next moment just after purchasing saying that their Amex POS is not working. This is frustrating and annoying, because at that very moment if you are alone and don’t have the cash with you then you need to find a nearby ATM booth [If you are lucky enough] to draw your money in hard cash and then pay the shopper. It even happened one day that the nearby ATM booth was not working due to network failure and I had to call my boss to pay and rescue me, what a shame!!!

Another annoying thing while purchasing goods with these cards are, you cannot purchase small amount stuffs like why? They says the transaction fee is high for them to bear for such small amounts! So, Should that be my headache? Many shops even declares that, they won’t proceed any transaction if the purchased amount is less than 500 TAKA.

The last and foremost annoying card of using a credit card is its long queue while paying the bills. I am a premium customer and that’s why I am using a credit card. It’s a posh thing and definitely my expectation while be high in terms of receiving the after sale service. It happens so many times that I went to the bank for paying the Due Credit Amount and came back cursing because of the long waiting line. Common, there has to be a dedicated booth for attending Credit Card holders! This is embarrassing as well.

Who’s to blame? From consumer’s perspective, we need a seamless service that will not embarrass us. The shop owner should be more careful and maintain a regular servicing for their POS and of course should permit to buy goods of any amount and Banks should also have a strong backup policy during network outage. They should also give an extra khatir to their credit card holders. Else the boom of e-commerce will be halted.

Last of all, I would like to propose a service that will take the Card Systems even to a higher edge. Carrying cards at times could be cumbersome. Imagine you went to a jogging early in the morning and found that you are thirsty and need to buy a bottle of water but you forgot to bring your wallet. What happens then? You hold your thirst, crawl back to home and swear never to leave your wallet ever. But think, had the whole Transaction System would have been biometric you might not had to experience this bitterness.

Imagine yourself in that retail outlet, you have finished purchasing the water bottle and the shopper gives you the total. You then scan your finger, put your PIN, amount and payment method in a touch screen monitor and hit enter. That’s it, doesn’t matter whether you have the card with you or not. The whole authentication system works similar to that of a card. Just instead of reading a magnetic Strip the scanner will read the finger prints. Service annoyance for this case? Well this is why the highly paid scientists are there! Let’s leave it up to them. In this cutting edge technology era this shouldn’t be a difficult task for them.

-- Samiul Huq, BankInfoBD

Posted in Article, Banking