For the last 6 years I have happily been using HSBC Turkey for both my business and personal banking needs in Turkey. HSBC Turkey’s corporate banking site, funnily enough is considerably worse (and more buggy) than their personal banking site, however it gets the job done. Their personal banking site on the other hand is excellent, and more featurefull and a pleasure to use than HSBC bank sites in many other countries, Australia included!

A few months ago however, we made a mistake of giving into the requests of some of our small customers and setting up an İş Bankası account as many of them use İş Bankası only and didn’t want to pay the high interbank transfer fees (Why Turkish banks get away with charging fees for transfers I’ll never know) when paying our invoices.

This is where the battle started. Like any other normal person living in the 21st century I would like to be able to see access all my bank account balances and transaction histories, as well and pay bills and make money transfers via the internet. Now after 3 trips to my branch (not any branch mind you, you can only make any type of account changes through your home branch!), being forced to create a personal account which I have no intention of using, and spending 45 minutes on the telephone, I finally have “access” to internet banking…. If you can call it access…

I can log in… so I suppose thats a start.. I can also see the balance of my accounts.. But among the 6000 menus, I’ll be stuffed if I can find where to see the account transaction history! It doesn’t help of course that the English translation is so bad (with interspersed Turkish messages) that its often impossible to understand. (So bad in-fact that I logged out and logged back in in Turkish because it was easier to understand!)

Also, apparently, being able to actually transfer money anyplace is too much to ask, and even though the bank has a copy of my company registration papers, signature circular and passport, I would still have to visit a notary to get a notarised letter that says, yes, I would, pretty please, really, truly, very much like to be able to transfer MY MONEY anywhere at all!!

Thanks for caring İş Bank.. You just lost a customer!

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