I think we have established that Prudential’s big error gave many people a giant heart attack.
I still can’t imagine having a x100 amount deducted from my account.
It will be rejected for sure lah, cuz I don’t have x100, but honestly can you imagine.
So this has naturally gotten people quite worried/concerned.
I mean, what if I continue paying with GIRO and I don’t check my bank statement frequently? What if the amount deducted is more than what I’m supposed to be paying?
And for those who are not currently paying by GIRO and were thinking about it, you’d probably be hesitating at this point.
So in light of all the confusion, heart attacks, panic and worry (and self-realisation that you need more Vitamin M), here are 10 facts about GIRO for you.
Hopefully you will feel better about continuing to pay by GIRO after this.
1. So…can you tell me what exactly is GIRO?
Let’s have a bit of a refresher course in how it works, shall we?
Firstly, if you’re under the impression that GIRO has some special Singaporean meaning (lets be honest my fellow Singaporeans, we all love our abbreviations), like Give Ivy Return Oliver, it doesn’t.
It’s quite technical. It stands for: General Input And Reporting Online.
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This is a banking lingo that basically means ‘a system of transferring money within the financial institutions of a country’.
There is a tripartite relationship going on when you use GIRO as a separate account for the purpose of paying bills.
By having your bank standing as the middleman between you and your billing organisation, it cuts out the hassle of paying bills manually at every billing date.
Because the money in your GIRO account will be automatically deducted on every billing date for whichever organisation you have indicated to your bank that you want to pay for via GIRO.
So for example, if you choose to pay your utility bills via GIRO every month, your GIRO account will automatically deduct $X amount to pay Singapore Power Services on your billing date.
2. But after Prudential’s horror story, I don’t feel like using GIRO anymore. Is it really so beneficial that I should continue?
To put it simply, yes.
GIRO is very beneficial.
It saves you a lot of time remembering when your billing date is every single month for each of your different bills.
It’s paperless and cashless, which means you don’t have to be rifling through a bunch of papers trying to find your bill and then having to go pay for it manually.
It lessens your workload and saves you a lot of monthly worries because all you need to do is:
- Sign up to pay for this and that via GIRO.
- Make sure you have sufficient funds in that account monthly to pay.
Oh yes, and the biggest plus? There are no fees or service charges to use GIRO.
It’s completely free.
3. Internet Banking and GIRO, the team that is making life easier for you.
Now with Internet Banking, you can check and manage your GIRO accounts online.
You can easily pull up your bank statements to make sure there are no discrepancies with the amount being deducted.
You can also view all the GIRO arrangements you currently have.
And with a few simple clicks, just terminate any and all of the GIRO arrangements you no longer want to have.
4. What happens if my billing deduction is incorrect BEFORE any deductions take place?
Please know that there are very efficient and quick measures in place to resolve discrepancies (if any).
Because GIRO accounts are handled with utmost meticulousness and care.
But if there happen to be any mistakes before deduction, immediately contact your billing organisation or bank to ask them to stop payment from going through.
A thorough investigation will take place. If you are correct, the amount will be adjusted.
Only after the adjustments are made will payment then go through.
Billing organisations will suspend any deductions until investigation is resolved.
5. What happens if my billing deduction is incorrect AFTER the amount is already deducted? It happened to those Prudential customers leh…
We definitely understand and empathise with this worry. After all, unless you’re Warren Buffet (I think he’s someone who opened a chain of buffet restaurants), we don’t look at our bank statement every five seconds, do we?
If there are mistakes after deduction, well you’re screwed.
Just checking to make sure you’re still paying attention 😉
Anyway, if there are mistakes after the amount is deducted, contact your billing organisation immediately.
They will investigate and acknowledge within 3 working days, and provide an interim response in 10 working days.
If you are correct, you will be refunded the difference right away.
And if it is a huge screw up on the billing organisation’s part (*cough* Prudential *cough*), you might even get a 100 dollar bonus.
By the way, that “error” caused Prudential $2.2 million.
6. Why do I have an extra charge on my GIRO? Am I being scammed or cheated out of my money?
Definitely check all your payments in your bank statement to make sure you are being charged accurately.
But if you ever see a service fee, don’t freak out.
It could be likely that you have incurred that service charge from your bank.
This service fee is charged to you by your bank if your GIRO payments fail to go through.
Some billing organisations also have a service charge for failed GIRO payments, so again, please check with the organisations you have chosen to pay via GIRO for. Sort of like a bounced cheque, you know.
According to a forum, some banks charge for failed GIRO deductions and some don’t – so check with your bank.
7. Changing GIRO payments to an account with another bank.
Let’s say you’re using your UOB account now for GIRO payments.
But you now want your DBS account to be deducted for GIRO payments.
Can you do that?
You need to inform your billing organisation of the change and then apply for your DBS account to be deducted instead.
This change will take up to 14 working days to process, so in the meantime, make sure that the existing account still has sufficient funds to deduct from.
Please remember only some billing organisations will terminate the old GIRO account on your behalf. Check with them ah…cuz if not you have to terminate it yourself.
Don’t be careless…later you kena having to pay twice. If it’s your fault they will likely not refund you hor!
PSA: If your UOB account is shut down which is why you need to change, please arrange an alternative payment method with your billing organisation while your other GIRO account gets set up.
8. You cannot temporarily stop a GIRO payment.
Most of the banks here don’t provide the service of temporarily stopping a particular GIRO payment.
Check with your bank, though, because there is an off-chance that some might. But if they do, it is likely it comes with a service charge, so query on that at the same time.
Anyway, if you can’t temporarily stop your GIRO payment, your only option is to terminate it and then reapply when you are ready to start again.
Don’t forget that the processing time of 14 days will still be there as it will be considered a new application, so factor that in.
9. Apply for GIRO on AXS machines.
In 2017, DBS/POSB launched an industry-first initiative that allowed patrons of its bank to apply for GIRO payments via select AXS machines!
If you’re old enough, you’ll remember having to fill up forms and snail-mailing those papers over.
The service is known as xDDA and customers of DBS/POSB can have a hassle-free way of applying for GIRO payments as they don’t have to fill out forms with a million instructions.
With a few clicks and in a couple of minutes, DBS/POSB users can have GIRO accounts all set up!
On top of that?
Instead of waiting about 3 weeks for the GIRO account to be processed and approved, the turnaround time for GIRO applications on the AXS machines can be up to as little as one day!
Technology: it’s moving so far, our kids might stay in Mars in 2030.
10. In the case of a death of a family member, halt GIRO payments.
Death is hard.
Loss is painful.
But it is unfortunately, part of life.
And the thing is that when you lose someone close to you it can be quite hard to remember to get all their affairs in order.
But if you are experiencing loss or if you know someone that is going through this difficult time, please remember (or remind the relevant people) to give a call to the deceased’s bank to inform them to completely stop all GIRO payments.
Because GIRO is automatic, deductions will still occur, so don’t wait to do this.
Inform the bank, give them the documents that they require, and deductions will stop.
There you go, 10 facts about GIRO that you may (or may not) have known. Hopefully now you will be better equipped to deal with all things GIRO-related!
And may you never have a ‘Prudential-scare’ ever again.
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