“You need Internet banking?”

I am of two minds as to whether I should name the bank, but for now, I will not. But it is a bank that claims to be globcal bank – yeah, enough hints there.

I needed to open up an account with a so called international bank so that I can send money in US$. This bank has a multi-currency account (who doesn’t?).

I tried to open the account via their website here in Singapore and it was going in circles. I decided then to go down to the branch near my home.

I told the bank officer my requirements and she said, no problem, an account can be opened up pronto etc. The bank official went ahead to set up an account and asked the usual questions and it went fine.

Then I was asked “do you want an ATM card?”. I said, no, I don’t think I need it.

Then she asked “do you need Internet banking?“.

What? This is 2020 and that is a question? Who would NOT need that?

So, yes, I need it. “OK, in that case you will need to get an ATM card.”


You need the ATM card to setup Internet banking.” – said with no hint of irony.

“So, I am here, physically, in the branch of YOUR BANK, and you can’t set up an Internet banking option for the account I am just opening up?”

Yes, you need the ATM card to do it and I cannot do it here.”

“Is this 2020? Or 1920? I know 2020 is horrible, but …”

’nuff said.


  1. I believe the ATM card is used as a form of second factor authentication (Internet Banking PIN resets). In Singapore, this helps to establish a chain of custody from your identity to your bank account to ensure you don’t become a proxy to money laundering. In the US, it’s in the form of the Patriot Act.

    • I figured as much but the kicker is that I am PHYSICALLY in the bank and all the details that are needed are right there. Unless they are said “we need to test the postal system to make sure that the postal mail will reach the address that is on your NRIC” – which they didn’t – then perhaps I might have been, “meh”.

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