Cashless Experience with State Bank of India – Debit Card Activation (PIN GENERATION)

State Bank of India is the most trusted bank in India. I have seen staff who are passionate about the bank and also customers preference to bank with The State Bank of India. My recent experience getting a debit card activated has raised a lot of questions.

It Started with Activating My Debit Card

Recently, I opened a bank account with the State Bank of India, Anna Nagar branch. The debit card was scheduled to come in the mail. When the debit card arrived, SBI provided a few options to activate.

  • Option 1: Text to a certain #.
  • Option 2: Activate through the Internet Option and a few others.

It is important for the correct phone number to be mapped to the credit card for the bank to activate the debit card. I was not able to activate my card. I went to the bank and was said the correct phone number was not mapped to the debit card. Some random number was mapped to the account/card. We had to provide a letter to change the phone number. This process took about a week.

SBI’s Customer Sevice’s Merry-Go-Round

Once the correct phone number was mapped, I tried to activate the debit card. I was asked to go to the home branch. The folks at home branch directed me to customer service. I was going back and forth to learn that my card was blocked. The customer service personnel now requested a letter to unblock the card. This took another week and later was told by one of the SBI personnel that blocked cards will not be unblocked. It would be wiser to order a new card.

I had to go to the bank again and now a letter for a new card was sent. The new debit card arrived and I was hoping that this time around everything would work fine. However, the debit card also was not working and for some reason, SBI was not able to provide a PIN number for the debit card. There were a bunch of customers who had the same problem. The staff I was working with, though her intent was to help, was not able to fix the issue. The bank staff was asking what she should be doing since she had exhausted all the options.

Customer Satisfaction <> Customer Service

Since I travel frequently it makes it even more difficult. The process of getting a debit card activated (generating a PIN) has taken close to two months and is still not done. I am not able to use the two debit cards I have received and now SBI tells me that they have ordered a new card. Several other customers in the branch I was visiting also had the same problem and the staff could do little to resolve. A simple analysis will give SBI the data on the number of customers reaching out to them to get the debit card activated.

Make Changes – Raise Up

They need to raise up and also hire a good CTO (Chief Technology Officer). Based on what I saw in the branch, at least half of the customer walk-ins would be reduced with proper systems and training. I heard a customer say that not many transactions were happening in the bank and most of the people who walk in are complaining about something not working.

The debit card still does not work. Though I have been trusting the State Bank of India, this makes me concerned about the overall quality and efficiency of the bank. This could seem trivial. However, small things will lead to bigger problems and based on the customer concerns I saw, I do not think this is a small problem.

We have seen large institutions fail because of mismanagement / various other factors and none of us would wish the same to SBI. The country and the people are invested in you.

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