IDFC Wealth Card Blocked

226°
Deal Cadet
Lobogris

I had an interesting and unusual experience with my IDFC Wealth card recently. This is my most coveted card with a credit limit in excess of 20 lakhs and is mostly used on overseas trips or when purchasing something from abroad as it provides 2.5% cashback. It also provides domestic and international lounge access.

A couple of months ago, I spent about 2 months in Korea and used it extensively. It was used for tiny Rs50 purchases to larger ones worth several thousand. No issues whatsoever and this has been the same in various other countries. I ended up purchasing Samsung Watch 5 pro and Buds 2 Pro as they were much cheaper in Korea. These were purchased from an official Samsung store in a large mall in Seoul. Now, Korea, like many countries in Europe and Asia, provides a refund of VAT (like GST in India) to foreign tourists. You have to scan the receipt and then swipe your card after you clear security at the airport to show that you are leaving the country. My flight was at night when the manned stations were closed and automated machines were the only option. After about a month, I received the tax refund as a credit on the card in two transactions for the two items purchased. These were small amounts worth Rs 700 and 1500 respectively. I was satisfied and didn't think anything was wrong. However, about 30 days later, my card simply disappeared from the IDFC app. There was a message stating that it was some technical error and they were working on it. So I didn't worry much about it. A few days passed and it still didn't show up. Then I tried netbanking and it wasn't showing there either. So I called customer care and was shocked to hear that my card had been blocked due to RBI instructions! After being transferred to senior rep, I learnt that they had declared these tax refunds from a company called Global Tax Free as prohibited. Despite repeated requests, they were adamant that there was nothing they could do as it was an RBI order. What was worse was that I owed several lakhs on it and I now had no way of knowing the amount due or the due date. They were not even willing to let it be blocked but to at least enable me to see its status on the app. They suggested that I should make the payment via some third party app like Cred!

I explained the situation and offered to share receipts for the transactions. I was asked to email and I sent the purchase receipts, the brochure explaining the tax free programme from the government of Korea and the tax refund receipts that clearly showed the same purchases and the amounts of refund. I received an automated email that they would respond in 24 hours. Several days passed and I did not hear anything. I called customer care and they took requests, I emailed a few times to various email addresses but there was no response and no call back at all! I contacted the branch manager as I am a top tier client and she also emailed the concerned department and yet there was absolutely zero response. Finally, I Tweeted. Now I received a call from their social media team and they again asked me to email and I did so. After a few days, they came up with further requests for more documentation, more emails and so on. Finally, they said that they were going to make an exception by issuing another replacement card but I would have to write a letter expressing regret and promising not to ever engage is similar transactions again. Even though I had done nothing wrong, I was tired of repeatedly explaining it and them not understanding it and I sent the required email. They followed up by asking for a hand written and signed letter to be sent via scan! Finally, after about 2 weeks, a replacement card was issued and a fee of Rs99 charged for it!

I believe their system flagged these transactions as income from international gambling or some other restricted activity. Has anyone else faced a similar issue?

Disclaimer
We are not SEBI/IRDA registered. The information provided herein is for education purposes only. We will not be responsible for any of your profit/loss with this channel's suggestions. Consult your financial advisor before making any decisions.
Top Comments
Generous Generous
Link Copied

IDFC's first level customer support is good but incase of escalation, it is worst. I too had to struggle a lot for wealth account upgrade, despite maintaining 4-5 times the required QAB for the program, it took 1 year for them to fix the issue and upgrade the account.

IDFC must review their escalation and nodal processes. In your case, it looks the mcc code Korean gov is using is not recognized by the bank and hence flag raised. But I completely agree with poor escalation desk as you experienced. 

Regarding payment, just incase one is unable to see card details/statment/outstanding, should wait for statement to get generated and on the statement the detail/process of payment is mentioned (NEFT/IMPS/UPI/Cheque). This practice is mandatory for all the bank.   

Benevolent Benevolent
Link Copied

VAT refunds in Europe are provided in cash at Airports. Indian banks may not be aware of such online vat refunds provided by some countries and may not  recognise such entries and flag them.

However it is extremely disappointing to see the attitude of customer care and senior officials towards premium customers.

It has turned out to be the most poorly managed banks. You should escalate the issue to the banking ombudsman of IDFC and thereafter RBI. 

It's not just the banks who appear to be less educated, even RBI is working under panic mode with unqualified and incompetent leadership.

You must insist on reversal of charges for new card as the fault is their's

Benevolent Benevolent
Link Copied

Even klook transactions on sbi was being detected as gambling earlier and not getting processed. No resolution even after raising to RBI Ombudsman.

Though I tried it again last week and it was working. So either klook changed its mcc, or sbi unblocked that mcc.

Deal's Advocate Deal's Advocate
Link Copied

One thing to add up in here & A BIG QUESTION is that When Gambling & such things are promoted openly in public platforms by big names, why the heck the transaction are blocked being detected as "Gambling" unless such mcc (id's) are already flagged suspicious genuinely 

Interesting & Surprising as well to see such cumbersome measures.👵🏻

JFI - 

Major credit card companies like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Maestro are widely accepted by online casinos across the globe

22 Comments  |  
13 Dimers
  • Sort By
Generous Generous
Link Copied

IDFC's first level customer support is good but incase of escalation, it is worst. I too had to struggle a lot for wealth account upgrade, despite maintaining 4-5 times the required QAB for the program, it took 1 year for them to fix the issue and upgrade the account.

IDFC must review their escalation and nodal processes. In your case, it looks the mcc code Korean gov is using is not recognized by the bank and hence flag raised. But I completely agree with poor escalation desk as you experienced. 

Regarding payment, just incase one is unable to see card details/statment/outstanding, should wait for statement to get generated and on the statement the detail/process of payment is mentioned (NEFT/IMPS/UPI/Cheque). This practice is mandatory for all the bank.   

Savings Mentor Savings Mentor
Link Copied
For the Wealth program, should the 10L+ be in savings account only or some of it can be in FDs also and some in savings account? I have 10+L TRV (including FDs) with IDFC for over a year yet no account upgrade ever, no CC offer either.
View 1 more reply
Benevolent Benevolent
Link Copied

VAT refunds in Europe are provided in cash at Airports. Indian banks may not be aware of such online vat refunds provided by some countries and may not  recognise such entries and flag them.

However it is extremely disappointing to see the attitude of customer care and senior officials towards premium customers.

It has turned out to be the most poorly managed banks. You should escalate the issue to the banking ombudsman of IDFC and thereafter RBI. 

It's not just the banks who appear to be less educated, even RBI is working under panic mode with unqualified and incompetent leadership.

You must insist on reversal of charges for new card as the fault is their's

Deal's Advocate Deal's Advocate
Link Copied
I have read & understood the whole scenario. 
I am just trying to figure out & curious as well as Why any International Debit/Credit transactions (including any sort of refunds) or their mcc are flagged suspicious until reported by customer or them calling the customer and getting a confirmation of fraud activity ?
Also without proper intimation , is this action taken by banks liable ?

Banking system in here is still flawed! 😵
View 4 more replies
Benevolent Benevolent
Link Copied

Any international transactions rbi thinks it's crime.

Deal Newbie Deal Newbie
Link Copied
Crypto smile
Cool Cool
Link Copied

Looks like the whole financial system in india is paranoid .  Babus and bankers match made in india.

Benevolent Benevolent
Link Copied

Even klook transactions on sbi was being detected as gambling earlier and not getting processed. No resolution even after raising to RBI Ombudsman.

Though I tried it again last week and it was working. So either klook changed its mcc, or sbi unblocked that mcc.

Deal's Advocate Deal's Advocate
Link Copied

One thing to add up in here & A BIG QUESTION is that When Gambling & such things are promoted openly in public platforms by big names, why the heck the transaction are blocked being detected as "Gambling" unless such mcc (id's) are already flagged suspicious genuinely 

Interesting & Surprising as well to see such cumbersome measures.👵🏻

JFI - 

Major credit card companies like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Maestro are widely accepted by online casinos across the globe

View 2 more replies
Benevolent Benevolent
Link Copied
Hand written signed letter, seriously !!!
you should have let the card go, and not have sent the letter.
Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
Link Copied
For most cards, I would have. However, this one has the highest limit at 21 lakhs.
View 3 more replies
Deal Lieutenant Deal Lieutenant
Link Copied

In Thailand long back may be in 2008, I availed this and the VAT refund was in cash never to card

replyuser
Click here to reply
Reply