No love for HSBC
I ranted on twitter today about my visit to HSBC. And I feel like ranting here. I hate the fact that I get paid in Vietnamese Dong. This one fact has changed the entire way I have to bank and there is really no other reason behind it than it is less costly and more convenient for our company to pay us in dong than dollars. This unnerves me to no end, but that is a blog for another time.
I went to HSBC today to withdraw Yen for my upcoming trip to Japan. I have to have my passport, my ticket and if needed, a visa in order to “prove” that I need the foreign currency.
The tellers now think they are immigration officers. The idiot behind the counter today said, “I cannot give you money. You don’t have a visa.” I told her I don’t need one. Then she made a phone call. The person on the phone told her I needed a visa. She said, “You must have a visa.” I told her, “I am an American Citizen and if I go to Japan for less than 90 days, then I do not need a visa. I do NOT need a visa! Understand?” She made another call. “Ok, you do not need a visa.” Then she needed my original ticket to make a copy of, even though I provided a copy for her and showed her the real ticket with the copy.
Then she shuffled the papers, looked at the screen, looked at the papers and confirmed verbally the amount of yen I was asking for. And she said, “And it is Yen?” Trying to remain calm, “Yes. I wrote on the form that I will withdraw Yen. The ticket says I am going to Japan. So I need Yen.” So she made another phone call. “Um, I’m sorry, but we can’t give you that many dollars. You are over the daily limit for withdraw in US Dollars.” (This is a VND account policy) So I replied, “I don’t want US Dollars. I want Yen. I am going to Japan. They use Yen. I need Yen, not US Dollars.” And so she picked up the phone again.
After a few phone calls and a visit to the room where they keep the foreign currency, she returned with my Yen. I signed off on the papers and said, ” I realize you are just doing your job, but this is my money and if I want Yen, or Dollars or Dong, I should get it.” Oddly enough, she said, “I know. Sometimes the policies of HSBC are not very customer-friendly.” “My point exactly,” was what I said before I headed out the door.
I’m quite sick of having these headache-inducing interactions with my bank. I feel like just because I have a Dong account, my money is held hostage and I don’t have control over what happens to it. And that just pisses me off. I would love to hear suggestions of a bank which doesn’t penalize a person like me who lives in a foreign country, operates with foreign currencies and uses her credit card in foreign countries too. It really should not be that complicated!