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:


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 

  • This is the stupid and expensive bank. Last time I wanted to send just 4000 rupees to my friend who lives in Islamabad and this bank asked me to pay 400 rupees extra on top of that. While I was just sending money from HBL to HBL their charges are insanely high.

  • Stupid bank indeed, it used to be my primary bank but due to these annoying practices, I’ve stopped using it. Their call center guys need some serious training on how to solve a problem rather than scaring their customers with useless questions and advices.

  • My experience with them is also not good. Once HBL used to be my main account, as we had salary account in it. Than exactly 50% of time HBL debit card did not worked on ATMs due to issuer down error. Now as I had changed my employer about 3 years ago, they have salary accounts in meezan, they are far far better, their atm and issuer service is mostly up, 95 times in a hundred. I would have chosen to have HBL as my secondary account, but their poor/expensive services, I have left them for good.

  • This happened with me in January this year. I couldnt do any sort of transactions whatsoever except of using it on ATM machine to draw money although it was a renewed card that was issued to me the same month.

  • Bad things can happen why you guys are making fuss of it, big IT companies even Facebook, Twitter, linked In and Microsoft were the victim of cyber attacks etc.

  • any thoughts on the services of Standard chartered. ? i am using standard chartered for about 3 years now, extremely smooth services.

  • Stupid Bank ever.. and nonprofessional people are heading this bank they don’t know what the bank means and what are the responsibility of banks. 70% of complaints in SBP and Banking Mutasib are regarding to HBL ATM and Debit Cards but never got fine or penalty because the SBP governor is ex HBL. Check out the previous posts in PROPAKISTANI regarding the ATM data compromising

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