My primary bank is NBK but due to various issues, mainly this one time when their ATM network was down and I wasn’t able to withdraw money before traveling, I decided to open a secondary bank account with Burgan Bank as a backup. I chose Burgan Bank primarily because they were located in the building adjacent to my apartment building and I liked how the branch looked like. As I found out recently though, turns out for traveling, Burgan Bank was the wrong bank to go with.
Last month while in Cape Town the owner of the bed & breakfast I was staying in asked me if I could pay him in cash since that way he wouldn’t have to pay the credit card transaction fee. So I went to an ATM to withdraw money using my Burgan Bank card. The ATM had a limit on how much I could withdraw at once so I had to withdraw the amount in two parts. After withdrawing the first half I tried to withdraw the second half and got an error. I then received a message on my phone from Burgan Bank saying my card had been declined and I needed to contact them. So I called Burgan Bank up using roaming and after getting a hold of an employee I was told that due to security reasons, Burgan Bank has placed a limit on South Africa and that I could only withdraw a maximum of KD25 a day. I went apeshit over the phone. I told the employee I’m on vacation and they have no right to limit my spending to just KD25. I told him KD25 wouldn’t be enough for me to spend per day and I also needed to pay for my accommodation now and I couldn’t because of this stupid limit. He told me he would put in a request to increase my spending limit temporarily. I was like I needed the limit lifted now so he put me on hold for a few minutes before letting me know my limit was lifted.
I came back to Kuwait and basically forgot about the whole incident until this past weekend while I was in Bahrain I ran into another issue. On the day I arrived to Bahrain I tried to use my Burgan Bank ATM card but it got declined. I thought it might have been something with the sellers machine and decided to use my NBK card for the purchase instead. I didn’t use my card for the rest of the trip since I was using my NBK credit card. When I landed in Kuwait Saturday night I headed to the Burgan Bank ATM machine at the airport to withdraw money to pay for parking but I got a declined error again and a message on my phone saying the bank declined my card and I should contact them. So I called Burgan Bank and ask their customer support why they’re declining my transactions and the employee told me it was due to security reasons. I was like what?! He was like when someone uses the ATM card in two different countries in the same day they automatically block my card and I need to call the bank to unblock it. I went apeshit again. I told the employee I had breakfast at the airport and then traveled to Bahrain and wanted to use my card there, are you telling me I am not allowed to do that? Are you saying that if I have breakfast at the airport I am not allowed to use my card again until 24 hours later after arriving to my destination? He was like it’s their policy. I was like I can’t be the only Burgan Bank customer that has complained about this. I was literally yelling at this point and asked him if Burgan Bank customers ever travel??? I told him this was the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard and that IF they were to block my card it should be when someone tries to withdraw a large amount like a KD1,000 or KD5,000 but not KD10! I told him I was fed up with them and that I hated being put in awkward situations because of them. I told him they have no right to keep blocking my card like that because they have no idea what situation I could be in while abroad and needed money but because of their incompetence I would end up being screwed. I told the employee to unblock my card and to put a note to never ever block it again. I told him even if five different people in five different countries try to withdraw money from my card at the same time to let them. Even if someone in Nigeria is trying to withdraw all the money on the card to let them. I just couldn’t handle it anymore, I hate being treated like a child by my bank. If they’re concerned about any transaction on my card they should call me and check on it like NBK does. But to block my card without warning is ridiculous.
So in the next few days when I have some free time I’m going to sadly be closing my account with Burgan Bank. I say sadly because I actually love the branch near my house and have had a pretty good experience with them. Even though both their app and online banking sucks I liked passing by their branch and their bank employees are actually really friendly. But their security policies have completely killed it for me. The whole point of opening an account with them was so that I have a backup system to use when I travel and the one thing I wanted them for they’ve failed in miserably. Now I need to find another bank instead so if anyone has any recommendations let me know below.
Update: Burgan Bank ended up calling me regarding my post and according to them they’ve reengineered some of the processes so that people don’t end up having these issues again. This is the email they sent me:
Thank you for raising your customer experience with us in regards to recent issues on your debit cards, firstly we regret the inconvenience caused to you. Due to the recent spate of frauds in card related transactions across the region each bank including ourselves had put in parameters in order to protect & safe guard our customers. Our endeavor has always been to protect our customers assets & ensure better customer experience.
We can reassure you that based on your experience and feedback we have relooked at our processes & reengineered them to ensure better customer experience and we will monitor and review the same on ongoing basis.