When I wrote Differentiate Your Product By Going The Extra Mile, I'd meant it to be the second and concluding post. But, I came across a few more
updates on this subject recently that I thought I must share, hence this third part.
Yes, as I'd guessed, recent realtime SMS alerts sent by banks in India for credit card transactions are the outcome of government regulation applicable across the industry.
I've come across at least one bank - Kotak Bank - that has been sending out such SMS alerts for over three years. I'm sure there are other banks who've been doing this and I encourage readers to share their names by way of comments at the end of this post.
Kudos to such banks for providing customer-friendly products / features well before they became compliance requirements - regardless of their true motives for doing so.
I encountered one more scenario in which BANK1's SMS Alert flops miserably.
Yesterday morning, I received the following alert from BANK1:
BANK1: Thank you for using your credit card for INR xx,xxx.00 on 15-Oct-2011.
I was at home, I hadn't done any online shopping and I definitely haven't setup any recurring transaction of such a large amount, so I was almost sure that this was a fraudulent transaction. A five figure amount didn't help quell my anxiety either. It was
only a couple of hours later when my wife returned home that I learned that she'd used her BANK1 addon credit card to pay our daughter's school fees, so eventually it turned out that there was no cause for concern around this transaction.
Let me call this usage scenario Addon Card Present One-Off . Since addon cards are quite popular in India, this scenario is far more common than the previously described Card Not Present Recurring one. By failing to support
it, BANK1 is bound to cause angst to a large number of cardholders. For those wondering why I should be getting the SMS alert when my wife uses her addon card, the fact is, all forms of account alerts are only sent to the primary cardholder. This is true of
all banks in my experience.
To me, this is the tipping point for deciding that 'no alert is better than a bad alert'.
I've already written to BANK1 via their Internet Banking portal asking them to either enrich their SMS alert to include the merchant's name or stop it altogether. Based on past experience, I'm mentally prepared to receive at least 2-3 emails with statements
of platitudes like "we take your complaint seriously", "it is feedback like yours that helps us improve the quality of our service", blah, blah, blah. Hopefully, by the fourth attempt, they'll get my point. I'll then come to know whether my persuasion skills
have worked and I should hold on to this card or my anxiety has gotten the better of my loyalty and I decide to cancel it after eight years of heavy usage.