There are quite a few scary things in life: wetting your bed when you’re 30, seeing your girlfriend’s bare face for the first time and hearing sounds from under your bed at 2:00 a.m.
But none of them, in my not-so-honest opinion, comes close to having a few extra zeros being extracted from your bank account for no apparent reason at all.
(But of course, you need to have zeros at the correct position in the first place )
Yet as scary as it sounds, it actually happened. And yesterday, no less.
So what is it about? How severe were the damages? And did they see something under their beds?
Let’s find out.
According to Channel News Asia, several policyholders of Prudential recently encountered erroneous (wrong; incorrect) deductions from their bank accounts. This was confirmed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday (24 May).
“Customer accounts of multiple banks were affected. This was not a cyber attack but an operational lapse,” said MAS in a media release.
When it Happened
Somewhere around yesterday (24 May 2018), people started to notice the deductions that weren’t normal.
The Prudential Singapore Facebook Page issued a statement yesterday at 11:00 p.m. on the incident.
Unauthorised fund transfers
Upon being notified of the bank deductions, some victims approached news sites like Channel NewsAsia.
A CNA reader, who wants to be known only as Ms Huang, expressed that she had first been notified of an unauthorised fund transfer of more than S$50,000 from her HSBC bank account at around 3:45 p.m.
That’s one heck of a policy, no?
She subsequently called the bank, and they told her that they had received countless, similar-themed calls from customers, reporting unsanctioned transactions on their bank accounts.
At around 8:00 p.m., her advisor sent her a message of apology, which read:
“Good evening. We apologise for the technical error on the billing. Some clients are over-charged today. Currently they are already investigating on the matter and will get it rectified ASAP.”
By the way, we remove the “s” from “apologise”, because according to my English teacher Mdm Lim, there must be subject-verb agreement #NotGrammarNaziJustTooGlaring
Social Media Then Got Hold Of It
Although some took to the more conventional route:
Prudential, does your staff know decimal places? Seriously, deducting by giro $32,634 from my wife’s bank account when it should have been only $326.34…!!
Can you understand the distress that this caused? And we had checked with the bank that the error is from Prudential side.
Isn’t there a checking process? Sure maybe a staff made this error and missed out the decimal place, but isnt there someone checking on this before submission to the bank?
Prudential Singapore then left a reply on the same sub page.
And indeed, Prudential would later make its refund to the account in question.
Here’s another one:
EVERYONE, IF YOU HAVE ANY PRUDENTIAL POLICIES, READ!
My sister just got $3,230.00 deducted from her bank account by mistake from Prudential for her $32.30 per month Accident Plan today! She called in and they told her that its an “IT Glitch”, WTF?
PLEASE CHECK ALL OF YOUR BANK STATEMENT OR iBANKING TO SEE IF PRUDENTIAL HAD DEDUCTED YOUR PREMIUM WRONGLY TOO! Wtf Prudential!?
Eventually, the refund was made.
Yeah, the error isn’t just a few dollars. It’s allegedly a multiply of 100: a $10.00 deduction will become a $1,000 deduction.
I wonder why this kind of technical error didn’t occur in our payroll system.
Deductions so Much, Some Deductions Failed
Let’s say your premium is $100; with a multiply of 100, that would have been $10,000.
That amount is so crazily high that some deductions failed. I’m not sure if they should be happy (not affected) or sad (not having X100 amount in their banks), but it sure is alarming.
I mean, can GIRO deduct so much in the first place?!
It turns out that one can set a limit to GIRO deductions. I’d have loved to set up a limit after this incident, but the problem is that…why set a limit when I didn’t even have money in the first place? #FirstWorldProblem
In MAS’ statement on Thursday (24 May), it expressed that it has motioned for Prudential and its payment bank, Standard Chartered Bank Singapore to return the customer funds without delay, to keep customers updated, and to look into the root source of the incident.
“We take a serious view of such operational lapses and will take follow-up supervisory measures where appropriate.”
If not, it might be a good time to reach out to their customer service.
At this moment, other than it being a technical error, no details were provided.
Prudential’s Payment Bank is Standard Chartered Bank
While it’s clear that only Prudential policy holders are affected, the payment bank that Prudential used is Standard Chartered Bank.
In Prudential Facebook Page, they have apologized for the error.
Over in Standard Chartered Bank, upon checking its Facebook Page, we now know they sponsor Liverpool FC.
So it’s clear: Standard Chartered Bank is wrong. How can they support Liverpool?! That’s an error by itself leh.
All Refunds Should Have Been Made
According to Channel NewsAsia Facebook Page, Standard Chartered Bank has mentioned that all refunds have been made since 1:15 p.m. today (25 May 2018). It’s unknown if the amount is already in customers’ account, though.
So, if you’re affected, do check your bank account.
Refunds Would Include Interest
When you’ve only $0.21 in your bank account, the interest would be so low that you didn’t even know there’s one.
But when you’ve got $200,000 in your bank account, the interest earned every year, despite the relatively low interest rate, can still be seen.
Which is why the refund would not only be the principle amount, but the lost interest as well. The spokesperson for Prudential says, “Any interest lost will be refunded and any erroneous charges will be reversed as soon as possible.”
Well. The only interest I have in banks is the cute teller.
So there you have it: nine facts about something that shouldn’t have happened in Singapore but had happened.
Come to think of it, this might just put a dent in our aim to be a cashless society #justsaying
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