Twice in a Month: HBL Blocks Customers Debit Cards For Security Reasons

Customers of Habib Bank Limited are facing a nightmare scenario as the bank’s debit cards were blocked for a second time in the last two weeks due to security reasons.

While we don’t know the number of impacted customers, debit cards were first blocked on February 23rd, 2016 and bank issued new cards to such customers. However, after receiving new cards on March 7th, 2016 renewed cards were blocked again.

The perturbing situation has resulted in customers having to pay additional fee of debit card on the account of renewal charges, regardless of the fact that Bank forced customers to renew their cards after they were blocked automatically by the bank itself.

Many of the customers have already paid at least Rs 348 and onwards besides annual charges to restore their cards blocked by the bank for security concerns.

According to a customer Zahid Hussain*:

HBL blocked a number of debit cards on February 23, 2016 for security purposes and issued new cards with additional charges of Rs 348  which people received in last two days. Now the bank again blocked our cards and sent messages to customers for their renewal.

HBL message to customers reads:

20160307051543

Dear Customer, your HBL Debit Card has been blocked for security reasons. Replacement card is being issued and will be delivered to your registered address.

Meanwhile, not only did customers face unavailability of Debit Card services for days for money transactions (mainly through ATMs), but they were also deprived of promotional campaigns at partner shops and companies.

HBL debt card

Customers were deprived of any promotions due to inactive debit cards

One customer Arsallan Khan* said that he went to Aga khan diagnostic lab for blood test. While using an HBL debit card offered he used to avail 20% discount on final charges, he tried to avail the offer but could not and had to pay full charges in cash.

While we couldn’t confirm this officially, sources in the banking industry told ProPakistani that the information related to HBL customers debit cards was stolen from its system which compelled bank’s management to block their cards to prevent illegal transactions.

We don’t know if the leak was manual or electronic but it was done in the bank, sources added without giving definite reasons.

HBL is the largest bank of the country having millions of customers using multiple services. It acquired cards business of CitiBank in 2013 and the whole of Barclays Bank in 2015, acquiring customers from different banks.

However, the vulnerable security situation has led to scores of customers suffering blockade of their card service twice in last two weeks.

Earlier in December 2015, the bank was slapped with a penalty and a partial ban by USA authorities due to non-compliance of different measures pertaining to money laundering.

It is high time for HBL management to look over its operations in detail. While the bank has been flourishing in recent times, it could face loss of customers in the highly competitive banking industry due to poor and unsatisfactory services.

The bank did well to sponsor first Pakistan Super League but now it is time to take care of customers too.

Customers names were changed for their privacy