Written by Karen Bryan
After lamenting the pathetic rates of interest availabe on UK instant access savings accounts I came to the conclusion that I should open an ICICI Bank HiSave SuperSaver account. I worked out that we’d earn an additional £2 per year (after deduction of basic rate tax) on each £1,000 saved in an ICICI instant access account, which pays 1.75%, (dropped to 1.6% on 13 August 2014, but existing customers will receive 1.75% until 16 October 2014) compared to leaving the cash in my Halifax Everyday Saver account (which pays 1.5%).
After checking that the ICICI HiSave account was covered by the FSCS in the UK, I proceeded with my online application on the 30th of July 2013.
It only took a few minutes to open that ICICI Bank HiSave SuperSsaver account online. Three days after opening the account (on 2 August 2013), I received an email asking me to phone ICICI to confirm my details. I thought this was a bit strange as I thought that the information I’d given on my application, i.e. my current account details (from which the £10 initial deposit was to be taken) and address would have been sufficient to carry out an ID check.
Contrast this with opening a Norwich and Peterborough E-Regular Savings Account, when I received an email with my account details (sort code and account number) within minutes of filling out the online application.
I was annoyed that the phone number given by ICICI was an 0844 number, which wasn’t included in my BT calls package. However I found a landline number, 0203 478 5319, on the SayNoTo0870 website. I was on hold for a couple of minutes with some particularly jarring music playing.
I don’t know if it was my Scottish accent, but the customer service assistant, I assume based at ICICI bank HQ in Mumbai, had trouble understanding what I was saying. There was some confusion over whether I had previously held an account with ICICI. As far as I’m aware, I’ve never had an account with ICICI. But then I’ve had so many bank accounts over the years, it is possible I’d forgotten about it.
The customer service advisor gave me my ICICI Bank HiSave SuperSaver account number on the phone and said I’d receive a further email with instructions on how to proceed. Seven days after that phone call, I’ve had no further communication from ICICI Bank. I checked the current account from which the initial £10 deposit was to be taken, and that hasn’t been debited yet.
I think that it’s unacceptable that the account isn’t operational ten days after making the online application. I don’t think that I’ll use this account. I’m unhappy with the customer service so far. I’m now also concerned that there may be delays in withdrawing money quickly from the ICICI Bank HiSave Account.
Although I’m always chasing the highest rate of interest, there needs to be a minimum standard of customer service, which I don’t feel ICICI Bank is delivering.
Update 13 August 2013 – I received an email from ICICI Bank to inform me that my application had been unsuceesful, with the message “ You have recently applied for a HiSave SuperSaver Savings Account, however, we have noticed that the details on your application do not match the details we currently hold for you.”
I can only assume that I held an ICICI account in the past which I can’t remember. But you’d think that ICICI would be able to open an HiSave account for me with my present details e.g. verify my Halfax Reward Current Account and entry on the electoral roll.
I’d decided not to use the account due to poor customer servce. That decisions has been re-inforced by the fact that the rate of interest on the account has today dropped to 1.6%.
Update 23 August 2013 – I received an email from ICICI bank confirming that they had opened my HiSave SuperSaver account and that the direct debit had been successfully set up between my nominated account and my HiSave account.
I don’t know what to believe. Their previous emial told me that my account application had been unsuccessful. What’s going on at ICICI Bank? Further proof that my decision not to use this account was correct.