Need a new bank


#1

Just wondering if anyone has a particular bank that you like. I have an account here with a visa-debit card, but I am really unhappy about the customer service. I’ve gone to 4 different branches and the service is all the same. I get lucky if someone actually speaks English, even in the foreign exchange dpt. I have one other bank account that I do not use with another bank, but before I try them again, I’d like to get your opinion.

Oh, and is it true that in order to withdrawal money in person, you absolutely HAVE to have your bank deposit book? I don’t see why they just can’t look in their little computer, sitting right next to them. Especially when you can present 2 forms of ID, your pin # on the account (not the same as the ATM pin#) and a chop. Anyone know about the laws here?


#2

I don’t know about the law, but bank practice varies somewhat from company to company. Bank books are used much more here (personal checks are not). Some banks will accept signature from Westerners and have a keypad to enter your secret number when you deal with the counter clerk. You might want to consider using the book and the chop, it does offer some security advantages, and the book can be updated by automatic machines in most branches.

In my experience not many bank staff know all the (difficult) banking vocabulary - I would say the Chinese words for banking are in the ‘intermediate’ category, no doubt the converse is true. I was recently stumped by a error message printed in Chinese on an ATM slip, when I asked the staff they just said “Not enough money” (錢不&#22816) , but the polite text on the printout was incomprehensible!

The other big difference is that some banks have a choice of English on the ATMs, others do not. I find doing more complex transations (transfers, bill pay) on Chinese ATMs very very difficult due to the formal language and unfamiliar vocabulary!

I would recommend Grand Commercial Bank (萬通商&#26989) for best all round service. They have English choice on ATMs, keypads, consistently good service etc.

On the other hand I would avoid Taishin (台新銀&#34892) Bank, Chinese-only ATMs, rigid rules about account books, insecure PIN practices, enthusiastic but uninformed staff…


#3

I would heartily agree that the service from the majority of banks here is poor although I’ve always found most tellers to be very courteous to me as a foreigner. It seems that the big state owned banks are the worst offenders and that you’re better off choosing a private bank. I’ve heard great things about Chinatrust which is also international and am thinking to switch to them myself. The big foreign banks aren’t really interested in personal banking (government rules I guess) and you also need to maintain a hefty minimum balance.


#4

If you are a foreigner and can afford to have more than NT$150.000 in your account (else monthly fee of NT$500 applies) perhaps HSBC is a good choice.
I like those one-stop accounts, i.e. savings, fixed, current and CC are all linked together.

As well HSBC is international (British, even the name suggest otherwise) and has several outlets in Taiwan and the SEA region.
I used them for nearly 7 years when living in Malaysia, no probs at all.

That said I had to open up a local account with Taipei bank when I arrived here and still maintain it for convenience (branch just located in front of my office and lot’s of ATMs in town).

My new account is with Citibank and they have English speaking staff (at least the ones I am dealing with do speak it).
However Citibank requires a minimum of NT$250.000 and has IMHO less ATMs across the country.
I nearly regret dealing with them though things got finally sorted out now but I still think I would have had less trouble with HSBC … well, one more problem and I will switch for sure.


#5

For all my puny needs the post office http://www.prsb.gov.tw/ is fine.
However I only use NT$ so maybe that’s why.
By the way, if you can even apply for 25 checks at a time:
http://www.prsb.gov.tw/big5/page/page4.htm [Chinese]


#6

Well thanks for the inputs. I will consider China Trust or Grand Commercial Bank. I do have a chop, English signature, and security pin on my account at Hua Nan, and they still refused to give me my money. After my little tantrum, they finally gave it to me. Unfornately that day, I had left my bank book and my ATM card at home, thinking they were in my wallet, which was in my purse. Not only that, numerous times they have refused to help me because the lady didn’t WANT to speak English, even though she can, as I have spoken to her before.