Credit Cards

What’s the hold up for the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard?

The best miles card in Singapore...if you can get your hands on it

When BOC announced its entry into the miles game on 23 July with the launch of the Elite Miles World Mastercard, everyone sat up and took notice.

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I mean, with the product on offer, it was hard not to. Prior to BOC’s entry, the best rate you’d get on general spending was 1.4 mpd (1.6 if you had a very high end credit card) for local spending and 4.0 mpd overseas (requiring a minimum of $1K overseas spending and capped at $2K per statement preiod)

BOC’s rates?

  • 2 mpd on local spending, no min spend, no cap, until 31 Dec (1.5 after)
  • 5 mpd on overseas spending, no min spend, no cap, until 31 Dec (3.0 after)

These were showstopping numbers. Throw in 4 free lounge visits a year for an entry level $30,000 p.a card (competitors only offer 2) and you had what was undoubtedly the best general spending offering in the market.

Miles chasers made a beeline to roadshows and branches to apply. Forms were filled, documents were furnished, applications were submitted, and then everyone sat back and waited for their cards to arrive.

And waited.

And waited.

It’s now more than one month since the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard was launched and the most common question on the Telegram and Facebook Groups is: “has your BOC card arrived yet?”

Underpromise and overdeliver

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When the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard first launched, card promoters were advising customers to wait up to one month for applications to be approved. At the time, I assumed this estimate was an attempt to “underpromise and overdeliver”.

Unfortunately, based on the evidence so far it appears that one month might be overpromising. Anecdotally, I know of people who applied at roadshows during the first couple of days (and submitted complete applications) who are still waiting for their cards to arrive.

My BOC contact has told me that the response has been way beyond what they initially forecast, and the estimated waiting time for new applicants is now 4-6 weeks. That’s simply not good enough in a market where people can apply for a card in the morning and get it in the afternoon. Expecting customers to wait 4-6 weeks, even for a great card, is asking a lot.

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But perhaps the protracted wait times shouldn’t be that surprising, given that BOC has always been one of the smallest players in the Singapore credit card market. It’s quite clear that’s this launch is swamping the limits of their consumer operations.

What little we can see of BOC’s back-end doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either. Case in point: as of today, BOC’s website hasn’t even been updated to list the Elite Miles World Mastercard. Heck, the website doesn’t even list the Qoo10 card, which was launched back in May this year.

Similarly, the BOC internet banking portal feels clunky and awkward to use, with confusing instructions and badly-translated phrases. Clicking on “credit card online application” merely leads you to an error page.

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Another hint at BOC’s relative lack of IT prowess is the fact that your credit card isn’t even automatically accessible through internet banking. You need to physically go down to a branch to apply for internet banking and link your credit card. Opening a SmartSaver account, applying for a supp. card and getting my BOC card linked to internet banking took just under 2 hours at the BOC AMK branch, even with no queue, an experience I’m not keen to go through again anytime soon.

All in all, it’s safe to say that BOC’s consumer-facing ops aren’t exactly robust, and nowhere near the level of larger, more established banks. The sudden influx of BOC customers thanks to the Elite Miles World Mastercard has only served to make this painfully apparent.

Is it possible to expedite your application?

In theory, yes. My BOC contact told me that applicants who are heading overseas and need the card urgently can call up customer service and ask for their card to be expedited.

That sounds good, but I’m a bit skeptical as to whether that really helps. In the Telegram Group many people have attempted to ask for faster processing with few reported cases of success. It can’t hurt to try, but I wouldn’t expect too much.

Will the launch promotion be extended?

Some people asking whether BOC is playing tricks by deliberately delaying the processing of Elite Miles cards, in order to minimize the amount of time to accrue miles during the promotional period.

I’m sorry, but that just makes no sense at all. Call me naive, but BOC has very little to gain from a stunt like that. If anything, these delays are costing it a lot of goodwill from customers who would not have otherwise considered banking with BOC.

More crucially, the longer applications remain unfilled, the more time BOC’s rivals have to launch a competitive response. It’s in BOC’s interest to get cards out as quickly as possible and get customers locked into the BOC ecosystem. And that’s what’s so frustrating. The BOC cards team has has created a great product, but they’re being let down by the inability of their ops team to get it into the hands of customers.

A better question would be whether BOC will extend the promotional period, given the delays in applications. My contact was tight lipped on this, only saying that they’d re-evaluate the promotion closer to the end of the year to decide what to do next.

Conclusion: your guess is as good as mine

When will you get your card? No one knows. For those of you wondering, there’s no connection between when BOC does your credit check and when your card comes. There’s no (apparent) link between where/when you submit your application and when it gets approved. Right now that whole process is a big black box, and customers are getting restless.

If you ask me whether you should still bother applying for a card, my answer is still “yes”. The BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard is a fantastic offering, and I really want to see it succeed. Unfortunately, with every week that goes by with no card in sight, more and more would-be customers turn from promoters to detractors. It would be very sad if the card went down as a textbook example of a great product hamstrung by poor execution.

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It’s not too late to turn things around, but BOC really needs to step things up if it wants to make a mark for itself in the mile game here.

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AJ
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AJ

Aaron, u’ve gotten the card right? Thankfully, I’ve gotten my card too. But it seems that my reward points do not tally with my foreign spend. How about yours?

Wot Me Worry
Guest
Wot Me Worry

Lucky you. Most of my stays were with Hotel81 and Fragrance Hotel Group.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

(Good things must wait) so says the Singlish phrase. If boc is going slow and steady, they can’t be and won’t be bothered to pull the plug on extras like what citi and ocbc did *snigger*

Ben
Guest
Ben

If the Trump administration is going slow and steady in filling its gaping State Department vacancies, it can’t and won’t be bothered to pull the plug on extras like what Obama and Bush did. Wait, what?

Wait v Long
Guest
Wait v Long

Hope Mr Anson Lim is looking at this and whack his ops big time.
Utter disgrace

TJ
Guest
TJ

I would even say their smart saver is the best product out there, but just looking at their IB pages and hearing people saying about erroneous crediting of points like above.. their ops really needs a big revamp ..

Dylan
Guest
Dylan

I got mine 2 weeks ago

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

Didn’t apply. Their inability to update their website rang alarm bells.

JW
Guest
JW

There’s just too much pain to go through for those extra miles. Eventually if they succeed the big boys will just join in and then it’s back to square one. Perpetual collusion.

Don
Guest
Don

Existing boc customer. Applied on 2nd day of roadshow. Call in couple of times boc call centre cannot find application. Called in on 13th august to ask for update and expediete. Call centre promised to call back no one called. Finally I got an update they start to process my card application on the 23rd of August.. Almost 4 weeks into the month after submitting my application. Call centre staff appears frustrated with the lack of updates from the processing team. Inconsistent processing of card applications. People who apply on the same date as me got their card who are… Read more »

Simpledom
Guest
Simpledom

Another thing to note Aaron, you might need to go queue at the branch again, because I remember you have to link EVERY SINGLE CARD to your internet banking account and you have to do it at the counter. Total ass pain

YC
Guest
YC

I’m also waiting for my BOC EM card and considering concall the card when it arrive.

BOC is famous for lacking of IT support, customer service, and somehow the points are having high chance not credited correctly l.

I don’t think it’s worth of all the trouble to get the extra miles.

Powell
Guest
Powell

This whole venture makes me not want to use their card at all.

What happens when I have disputes? I honestly cannot trust their ops to settle everything in an efficient manner.

invisible
Guest
invisible

I think Singaporeans in general have very high degree of patience and get used to incompetence and even fraud in service industry (hello travel agencies and gyms closing doors and leaving next day). But having same level of ‘service’ coming from financial institution, and moreover – a bank, should rise red flags all over for a potential customer. I would be very vary dealing with this card/bank considering what already is going on. As someone already mentioned points are not credited correctly. BoC reps only _promise_ that they _will_be_ credited after some time (2 month!). What if they are not?… Read more »

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

BOC has the most archaic card and non card processes in Singapore – hands down. I got a taster of that for my mortgage some years back and boy was that painful as well. Two weeks after I sent in my Elite Miles application, I called and was asked to quote my NRIC. The CSO checked and said they have retrieved my application for the Zhao Pao card – which I didn’t apply for?! Eventually after clarifying that it was for the Elite Miles card, I asked to expedite as I was going on an overseas trip in a week.… Read more »

Anon
Guest
Anon

Not sure what the fuss is about. It only makes sense that one of the worst banks in Singapore offers such a good promo. Why do you think we haven’t seen such offers from the credible banks with customer service standards?

I’ve applied for the card but am now rethinking my choice. Will likely terminate it if and when I get it. Can’t trust BOC.

Ben
Guest
Ben

BOC can rest assured I’ll junk the card if I ever get it. Applied during roadshow, no picture no sound till today. The whole impression from BOC is one of incompetence and incapability. If I ever have a problem with my card or rewards points discrepancies, I am quite sure responses will take 6 months to 1 year.

Will stick with apportioning purchases over UOB VS and SCB VI. Rather lesser miles than the ever-increasing likelihood of having muppets for customer service if I do use the BOC card.

ithh
Guest
ithh

Totally agree with this. It’s fair warning to all that they cannot expect any reasonable sort of customer service with this bank. No point giving enhanced miles per dollar when customers have to pull hair to get it.

NVM
Guest
NVM

I will cancel the card immediately if I ever receive it, but I think it will take months for them to cancel my card too haha…

Mike
Guest
Mike

I am inclined to do the same as well. If they are going to take so long just to process a card application, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will take as long, if not longer, to process your hard-earned points. And god forbid if you have to get them to resolve an issue. I don’t need that kind of grief just to earn some extra miles. I think I will stick with my StanChart VI card.

GT
Guest
GT

Agree with @Mike

Patson Lim
Guest
Patson Lim

.

Chris
Guest
Chris

5th week and counting.. have not get mine hahaha

saerogenta
Guest
saerogenta

I got mine mid-August. I think they gave priority to existing banking clients.

mm
Guest
mm

strange. i applied 27th, existing card holder, but until now, still nothing heard.

Nvm
Guest
Nvm

Its not strange. I applied on 25th July.. called their hotline and emailed to them, but still nothing heard.

Ken
Guest
Ken

This is fast becoming a contest about whose application can take the longest to fulfill…

Your card took 3 months to get to you?? Big deal.. mine took 6 ah!!!

mm
Guest
mm

Hahaha if only the promotion is, the longer you wait, the more bonus miles you will receive! Wait 6 months and you get 6x miles per local dollar spent!

CL
Guest
CL

Applied on 2nd day roadshow. Their contact center says the expedited request list is over a thousand and counting!!!

They can promise 100 miles per dollar or whatever grimick, you just wont get your hands on the card ever.

I am starting to suspect this is nothing more than an exercise to collect personal data and churn analytics for future product etc.

Ed
Guest
Ed

My statement of SGD900 (all local spend) receives abt 4,300 BOC pts (~ 1,430 miles). Conversion rate is averaging 1.6 miles/$.

Either rounding issue or bonus credit in next cycle.. Getting the relevant team to give me the details.. will keep you guys posted 🙂

Ken
Guest
Ken

Pffth.. dun bluff.. you’re just showing off.. not only have u received your card u’ve even got your first bill.. c’mon, admit it.. admit it..

?

juz kiddin’.. ?

Ed
Guest
Ed

hahaha I solemnly swear

Ken
Guest
Ken

?

Ben
Guest
Ben

You clearly did not read the T&Cs.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Someone from BOC side followed up, and said that promotional bonus miles will only be credited 2 months after.. so people, please check 🙂

Jack
Guest
Jack

I have actually called in to request to cancel my application.

Rumours has it that when credit card was first introduced in the 1950s, the processing time to get a card was faster than BOC processing time. LOL

Ben
Guest
Ben

The shameless BOC has set up a little kiosk at the MRT station control level at Raffles Place, marketing the Elite Miles card again. Amazing.

Patson Lim
Guest
Patson Lim

Bank of China branches outside China such as in Singapore,Thailand and Hong Kong are more focused on very wealthy Chinese clients that resides in those country Being the 4th largest Bank in the World by Assets they are really not short of customers or deposit for that matter so they can probably get away with a little bad service or not updating their website etc but personally I find Bank Of China credit card division to be very professional and helpful, I was given one Bank Of China Platinum Card and so far no problem whatsoever the Chinese speaking call… Read more »

Ben
Guest
Ben

Hey there, which BOC country branch are you from and which department asked you to post this? “Very professional and helpful”. Who are you defecating here?

Patson Lim
Guest
Patson Lim

hi ben no i do not work for Bank Of China i am only a consumer sharing my experience.

Jack
Guest
Jack

“They can probably get away with a little bad service”

It is not little. It is the worst service ever. Which bank takes more than one month to process a credit card?

Incredible. The service is non existent. What service is there to talk about when I can’t even get a card?

Irena
Guest
Irena

Hi Aaron,
Some of us already had the Arrture membership before the card arrived so it’s not linked to the BOC EM cards.
Maybe you might be able to advise us on this matter. Sorry if this is too much to ask.

G-T
Guest
G-T

Calling the clowns from BOC amateurs, would be an insult to amateurs around the world. I applied for the card when it was first announced and I have STILL HAVE NOT RECEIVED anything. I will not cancel the card yet, I will keep it going so they have more backlog and processing to go through but I will of course not use it. I already did my Q4 shopping I needed to exploit the 5x points redemption. As for the 3x award after December, I already have that with much better service (SCVI card). I will cancel the card after… Read more »

Ken
Guest
Ken

Incredible… I SMSed my interest on 23 July, just got card in mail 18 Oct.. almost exactly three months later.. and when I followed instructions to SMS to activate cards, I got an automated reply that effectively says that the activation will be done manually, at some point in time in the future..

It’s so bad it’s become funny!

Can someone please sell BOC a computer?

trackback

[…] cards to use in the month of November and December 2018. Assuming you don’t hold the unicorn BOC Elite Miles card, this promotion puts the Horizon Visa Signature a step higher than the UOB PRVI Miles card as […]

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[…] The UOB PRVI Miles is a general spending workhorse, earning 1.4/2.4 mpd for local/overseas spending without any cap or minimum spend requirement. Those earning rates may be below the 2.0/5.0 mpd being offered by the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard, but I can guarantee you you’ll get your UOB PRVI Miles card faster than the BOC. […]

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

I received mine last Thursday. Immediately I called to activate the card, but Noone seems to be on the other side. I sent sms to activate, 3 days no reply. In the end I got fed up, I walked into the nearby BOC branch to ask them to activate for me, at the same time apply for the internet banking. I also realized that the redemption of mileage is a bit of manual. You are required to fill in a form and send it to BOC via email or fax it over. I bet the process of mileage redemption will… Read more »

vanessa
Guest
vanessa

Do not underestimate how painful it will be to deal with BOC…. I received the card and am looking forward to cancel it once i receive the bonus miles.

Ben
Guest
Ben

First, you have to look forward to receive the bonus miles. Before looking forward to cancel it. Lol.