Thursday, May 20, 2010

Citibank Australia: ATM card charges for foreign transactions? Sheesh.

Today I received in my email inbox a reminder to get and put in my documentation for the Citibank Plus Transaction Account.

Sure. But on closer notice, I realised that there were fees for using my ATM citibank card/visa debit even in international Citibank ATMS. I could understand that for just normal retail foreign transactions.

But even for withdrawals at international Citibank ATMs?

I'm like, what the?

I am so not going to bother with the application.

I'll just use my Malaysian Citibank visa debit card for transactions with them in Australia. If ever.

I had a friend who saw my Malaysian citibank in my purse earlier. and remarked, "hei, that's a Citibank Visa Debit card!" Yeah, it is. Everything's the same. Everything from the blue design to even the logo.

Except that the Malaysian Citibank Visa Debit cards are able to accumulate reward points (for items!) and its free wherever it is used in ANY Citibank automatic teller machine ANYWHERE in the world. 

By right, if Citibank ATMS are used in any Citibank ATM anywhere in the world, it SHOULD be free. This is just too much!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Australia: Citibank Plus Transaction Account.

I just applied for a Citibank Plus Transaction Account.

Not only is it fee-free, but there is no minimum deposits,
it is
- $0 monthly fee
- No minimum deposit
- Unlimited free transactions
- Free Citibank Global Transfers (not to Malaysia though!)
- Unlimited free ATM withdrawals at any Westpac, St George*, Bank SA or Citibank ATM in Australia
- Visa Debit Card for online, domestic and overseas purchases
- and Cheque book access!

I was actually thinking of doing the ING Direct Visa Debit card,
but Citibank is so much more recognised than any other local bank!

 Go Figure.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What is Spruiking?

Spruiking is the act of standing in a public area (usually outside the related store) and advocating (quite loudly) the offers and bargains to be found inside (usually with the aid of a megaphone).

Hanson- an australia comedy act.Based in Sydney.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Art of Haggling.

Extracts are taken from:
1.      Do RESEARCH on how much a product costs.
If you're dealing with expensive and complex items (like electronic and jewelry) be sure to examine the details. The seller will quickly try to dismiss it by saying "Oh, but their product has feature A, which is inferior to feature B on our product." Depending on your research, you might say "Yes, you're right, but feature A is all I want, need, and am willing to pay for" or "While feature B might be considered superior by most, feature A is actually more appropriate for my particular needs."

2.      Paying Cash "might" get you more discount. 
3.   Show hesitation about buying the product. Even if it's the perfect item, the moment the seller sees that wistful look in your eyes, they'll know they've got the upper hand. Appear interested, as if you're willing to buy the product if the price is right, but you can certainly live without it as well. When the seller tells you the price, say "Hmmmm....I don't know....".
  • Use silence to your advantage. A long, awkward silence is likely to work in your favor. While you stand there as if you're wavering on the fence, the seller will probably get nervous and drop the price a little further, or throw in an extra.[3]
  • Talk about what you don't like about the item, or emphasize its shortcomings. If it's a ring, for example, scrutinize it on your hand and say "I don't know if it's exactly my style...". If it's a computer, ask "Does this come with a wireless keyboard?"[4] At the same time, be respectful. You could easily offend the seller by pointing out or criticizing points of taste. Point out issues of workmanship or wear.
  • Examine the item for any chips, scratches or flaws. Even in major retailers, they will often give you a "open box" or "display" item price if you notice a cosmetic imperfection. Check the back and bring to their attention the smallest flaw. This is especially useful when you are looking to buy the last one of something. Also make sure you really want the item because often, these discounts make the sale final.
3.      Pretend to consult with a reluctant partner

4.  Ask for freebies. If the salesperson is not willing to bring the price down, ask for other freebies, such as coupons to use at a later date or other items he might be willing to throw in. Remember, haggling is not just about the price - it's about walking away satisfied.

5.  Be prepared to walk away. Haggling is all about knowing how long to stick it out to be satisfied and when you need to walk away to look somewhere else for a better price. Don't be afraid to walk out of the store. Often, the salesperson will call you back into the store, telling you they'll give you a better price or deal.

6. Ask local stores if you can get a discount for “Being a Loyal Customer”.
- Ask quietly to avoid putting the store owner manager on the spot (inc case other customers want the same too).

7. Are there any coupons, promotions or discounts I should know before going.. the merchant may give you one just to get and KEEP your business.

8. Whenever possible, offer to order the entire inventory of a  product which has limited shelf life at a discount. They will be happy to reciprocate…

9. NEVER start by asking “whats your best price”.

10. ALWAYS ask if the item you want is going on sale any time soon. If the answer is yes, suggest that they sell it to you at the lower price now, or else you might buy it elsewhere in the mean time.
11. Merchants might be willing to give a higher discount to items which are no longer the “hot new products’ in order to get rid of them

12.  Never pay the listed price on a piece of jewellery.  Haggle accordingly.

13. Offer to pay in cash! (like the above)

14. Travel and leisure
Playing different travel agents off against one another can be a good negotiating tool. So once you have found a holiday you like, ring different agents and ask them if they can beat your best price so far.
If you're travelling independently, haggling is a bit more tricky, and it's virtually impossible to get a price reduction on flights.

"It is unlikely that you'll be able to get a discount when booking a flight," says Bob Atkinson, a travel expert at "But if you arrive early, there is a chance you may be able to get an upgrade. If you're travelling for a special reason - a honeymoon or anniversary trip, for example - it's always worth mentioning this at check-in, just in case there are any extras they can offer.
"Your best chance of getting a discount on a hotel room is to walk in on the day and ask what is available for the best price. Again, there's no harm in asking if your room can be upgraded. If you don't ask, you don't get."

It's also possible to haggle over the cost of your gym membership. In some cases, the one-off 'admin' or 'joining' fee can be waived by the gym manager, and there may also be room for negotiation on the monthly fee - especially if you join as a couple or group. 

Key Phrases to use:
  1. Hmmm… I don’t know le….
  1. All prices on big-ticket items are negotiable.. you just need to find the right person who can do the deal, and then have the courage to ask.
  1. Your rivals can do it for less… “You’re entitle to make a profit, but if your competitors can do it for less, you guys probably can too”.
  1. “I feel like I was tricked”.. talk about how you feel as a customer.. you stand much better chance of getting your way if you are an innocent victim rather than an angry shopper.
  1. “But you broke your promise”…. Whenever a company breaks its contract, you have every right to expect something in return. Just be sure you know in advance what you want when you’re asked.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Insurance Policies in Malaysia, and Australia.

When one is neither a resident of here, nor there, sometimes there are just some plans that can be difficult to make. However, Providence sometimes provide us good network connections to make sound decisions. Thank You, God!!

Anyways, these are some tips that Richard, a high school mate (who's currently in Brisbane) threw out:
  • If you already have life insurance policy in malaysia, just get the basic medical/hospitalization policy in Australia. This is for taxation purposes, as clients are normally not allowed to make the same insurance claim from more than 1 party.
  • Insurance agents don't necessarily have to check really how many insurance policies you have, but they will do this when the client wants to lodge a claim. 
  • It is up to the client to be aware of this as the law does not prevent more than one provider from selling the policy to them. The law only prevents clients from making a claim with more than 1 provider.get the most basic one in australia for taxation. 
  • From other news I heard, it is possible to make claims on as many life insurance policies (but can you really afford it?), but claims for hospitalization/medical is limited.  
The Australian Government provides a basic universal health insurance, Medicare. Private health insurance in Australia is limited to those services not covered by Medicare or to services provided in private hospitals.

The Australian Taxation system encourages middle to high income earners to take out Private Health Insurance. While most taxpayers pay a 1.5% Medicare Levy, an additional 1% Medicare Levy Surcharge is payable by those taxpayers who earn more than $50,000 and do not have Private Health Insurance. (From Wikipedia).

As such, Richard tells me that if I already have life/savings insurance in Malaysia, to just stick with it, and get the basic ones in Australia for taxation purposes.

Malaysian endownment and insurance policies are not taxable, and clients can still get their money back on maturity in the later years. They are written way better than Australian policies....!

So yeah, even if you are migrating to Australia, it is still worth thinking getting a policy (that you can service on a yearly basis), and enjoy shopping like a king on your retirement when you do come back to Malaysia for a visit!!

(This is purely my perspective, and not a financial advice. For that, you'd have to refer to your Financial Planner for more information!!)


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