Beware The Ol’ UOB Annual Fee Trick
On one hand, you provide such fantastic credit cards to earn miles, like your UOB PRVI Miles World Mastercard, and the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa card. On the other hand, you resort to such sneaky little tactics to try and pull one over on your cardmembers.
Case in point: Here is a screenshot of my credit card statement on my UOB Mighty app:
Nothing much to see here, just a couple of transactions and a GIRO payment.
But wait! Clicking over to the desktop version of my credit card statement, I spy an entry that wasn’t reflected on my mobile app:
Ah hah! It’s the dreaded credit card annual fee in the form of 6,000 UNI$, which UOB had quietly deducted from my account without reflecting it on my mobile app.
6,000 UNI$ isn’t a trivial amount – that’s the equivalent of 12,000 miles if I convert it to KrisFlyer miles.
To give you some context, a one-way Economy Class SQ ticket to Hong Kong costs 15,000 miles, while a Business Class ticket costs 27,500 miles (see here). The difference between Business Class and Economy Class is 12,500 miles, just a touch over the amount UOB sneakily deducted for my annual fee.
Not cool, UOB, not cool.
Why did UOB do this? It’s likely because:
- It reduces their UNI$ liabilities in a way that doesn’t cost them anything. If I had redeemed those same UNI$ for a flight, that would’ve been way more expensive for them
- Since the annual fee is charged in points instead of cash, it’s less likely to raise alarm bells among cardholders, who would have otherwise called in to request a fee waiver. To cover up their tracks even further, they found a way to make non-cash transactions not show up on their app
Reversing the annual charge was easy – all it took was a quick phone call, and the automated system reversed the charge and reinstated my UNI$.
BUT if you’re a UOB cardholder, I wanted to let you know about this sneaky little tactic in case you weren’t already aware. To prevent it, I’d recommend doing the following:
- Set up an automated calendar reminder to check for annual fees on your statement. These are usually charged on the month following your card anniversary date
- Log into your UOB online account on desktop to view your statement and look for the annual fee
- Request for a fee waiver by calling their hotline – as long as you’ve spent a decent amount on the card, this should be done automatically and immediately
Ugh, annual fees: The most useless charges in the world. They waste everyone’s time, annoy the heck outta you, and are just a way for banks to make money from people who’re too busy/lazy to check their statements.
Make sure you’re not one of ’em!