Monday, October 15, 2007


I have been using the same POSB ATM since the day I opened my account with them 15 years ago. Recently I found the card is really too to keep up with the newer machines. At the ASX machines, the card simply can't be read at all.

Queued for almost an hour at the bank to get it replaced. The lady behind the counter told me I had to pay S$5 if I get back the same simple ATM, but if I change to the GO card, then it will be free of charge.

What is a GO Card? It works the same way as an ATM card, you can withdraw cash from ATM machines, use it for NETS transactions, but in addition, you can use it a bit like a credit card. There is an authorized signature at the back of the card. You can choose to set your purchase limit to $500, $1000 or $1500. Anyone older than 18 years old and has an account with POSB can have this card. Wow, sounds like easy credit going all the way to the younsters too. Oops, here comes the catch. There is a difference between GO card & a credit card.

For a credit card, the bill only comes at the end of the month (or the beginning of it). For the GO card, the money is deducted at the moment the transaction is through.

I simply can't convince myself to get such a card with disadvantage. True, it is very useful for the young adults who are probably still students. Very convenient for them when they go overseas and needed some extra money. To me, it is a great disadvantage, as there will be no reward points, no way for me to cancel any fraudulent transactions before money changes hands.

At the end I said to the lady, it is not very fair to charge me $5 for the replacement of my ATM card. As it is because the card was too old, not because I mishandled it. And I had used the card for 15 years! She laughed, and gladly replaced the card for me, waiving the $5 charge.

Singapore banks are more and more like their counterparts in Australia, charging their customer on every possible occasion. I wonder when they will start charging for every over-the-counter transactions, and per ATM cash withdrawal. The day has not come yet, but it will. So everybody, work harder, stash piles of money for the rainy days...

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