Surprising I know.. for a bank which used to focus on customer delight. I’ve been a happy customer for over a decade now. However, events over the past few months have left me feeling not so happy with HDFC Bank and their services / policies in general.

Effective April ’10, they increased the Average Quarterly Balance (AQB) to be maintained from Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000, which didn’t make any sense as they weren’t offering anything special to warrant this increase.  Possibly they were playing catch up with others like Citibank (Rs.25,000/month) or ICICI Bank (Rs.10,000/quarter).

Recently, I received my bank account statement and was surprised to see a debit towards issue of additional cheque book in the first quarter of the year. I use cheques quite a lot to make payments for utility bills, credit cards et al and 25 cheque leaves for 90 days is just not enough. Transferring via National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) is possible, but there is again a service charge involved. If they’re trying to reduce paperwork caused by cheques, then why charge for using NEFT?

The biggest sore point however is that for some reason, payment gateways like Billdesk just don’t accept HDFC Netbanking as a valid payment option anymore. In cases like Airtel, the option doesn’t exist and for others like BSNL, Vodafone and other service providers, there is an option for HDFC Netbanking but when you select it, you get a popup like this…

HDFC Netbanking #fail

Considering HDFC Bank is my main bank, this is quite inconvenient as I’m now forced to make online payments by credit card. The increase of AQB and service charges for second cheque book have been a disappointment too.

Their SMS Alerts also seem to have gone for a toss. I invested some money (> their alert limit of Rs.5,000) in a mutual fund 3-4 days ago. The amount has been debited from my account but I’ve yet to receive an SMS confirmation. Salary has been credited to the account today afternoon but it’s close to midnight now and the SMS alert is yet to arrive with the good news. :D

Their phonebanking sucks big time and it takes ages for someone to respond. When they do, they end up asking you to reconfirm your details even if you’ve validated your T-Pin. Their phonebanking officers aren’t available 24X7, and even complaints / requests for a callback go unheeded now.

Their staff seems clueless about what documents are needed in case of an address change. The phonebanking officer gave one answer, an officer at one branch gave a different answer, and another at a different branch yet another answer. Quite stupid really.. like a body where one arm doesn’t seem to know what the other is doing! :P

I’ve had bad experiences with ICICI Bank and ABN Amro Bank but so far I never had any problems with HDFC Bank in all these years. I’m also an HDFC Bank shareholder, and a very happy one at that, but these recent experiences have taken some sheen off that gloss, and I’ll have to reconsider using them as my main bank.

 What’s your story?