The case of the missing money

I have a habit of shifting money around in the bank account. The other day, I was doing “housekeeping” and realise I have an amount that has mysteriously disappeared.

Background Story on OCBC Goal Savings Feature

OCBC 360 account has this goal savings feature that allows you to “lock up” your money. Super love this feature as it allows me to set aside a sum automatically every month for different purposes – insurance payment or travel.

OCBC Goals

When the goal has been setup (the setup process is quite tricky if you’re not familiar with how it works, I’ll skip it for now), you’ll have the options to edit the goal (changing the goal amount/duration or goal deletion) or add/withdraw money.

OCBC – goal in progress

When the savings for a particular goal is completed, you’ll be given the option to cash out. You can also choose to leave it alone – further fundings to the goal are stopped automatically.

OCBC – goal cash out

How It All Started

Last week, I was adjusting my goals so I made several goal deletions and creations. When I was taking a break from the process, I don’t know what made me tally the amount that I had.

There are two amounts shown – Total Balance and Available Balance. Total Balance is the total amount that you have, including those in the goals. Available Balance is the amount that is touchable, i.e. the amount you can withdraw via ATM or do bill payments from – this amount does not include amount that you have set aside in the goals.

When you have no goals set, these two amounts should (and MUST) tally. It didn’t tally that night when I deleted all the goals I had set previously.

A friend suggested I drop the bank a message via their Facebook page, as it’s faster to get a response compared to their internal secure email. And that was what I did. At 1.30am on 15 Dec (Friday).

Received a Facebook message reply from them (someone named DG) at 1130am, requesting for my contact number so they can arrange a Customer Service rep to contact me. I replied only at 4+ that day, as I didn’t have my phone with me.

To my surprise, I got a call almost immediately after I gave them my contact number. Thanks DG for the prompt action! After understanding my situation, the CS rep (Kalai) explained that this happened because I didn’t withdraw the funds from the goal before deleting it, and requested a screenshot of the goals section (the first image in this post) as evidence that I do not have any goals setup and that the missing amount is indeed mine and not held somewhere. I was told once he receives it, he’ll immediately send it to their IT team to release the money back to my account.

Coming from a fellow programmer, I don’t understand the business logic behind goal deletion. If goals are deleted, shouldn’t the funds be automatically withdrawn and credited into the account? From the user experience perspective, there should be minimal steps for the user to complete a task. So it makes perfect sense for the withdrawal to be automated.

So I sent it in via the bank’s internal secure email as requested by the CS rep. That was at 5pm. On a Friday.

The following days, I logged in to check religiously. I started to lose faith as I thought it’s dragging too long ($1.5k is not a huge amount but it’s still money right..). [ Thinking back now, I’d like to believe they had to do some checks before releasing the money. In case of fraud cases. So that 3 working days (excluding weekend) of waiting is understandable. ]

Finally on Wednesday 20th, the two amounts tallied! Imagine my joy! At that instant, I’m a happy woman again and decided I shan’t complain anymore since my money is back! (At this instant, there was no email reply for the screenshot I’d sent in earlier.)

Fast forward to Christmas Day morning 10am. I received miss calls from the bank. That made me wonder if something had gone wrong with the money or my account. So I picked up the call when it rang again.

Turned out, it was Kalai who called to inform that the money has been released and credited back to my account. This came as a surprise! I was only expecting a reply via the internal secure email, not a phonecall. And it’s Christmas Day when everyone is out enjoying themselves!

Thanks Kalai for making my day early in the morning! And DG for the prompt replies too!

Lesson learnt from this episode. If you have to delete your goals, remember to withdraw the funds first!

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