READING about how easily some people were able to open accounts, deposit and withdraw millions of dollars allegedly stolen from the central bank of Bangladesh in a matter of days was mind-boggling—especially for me, as I was trying to deposit a $100 cashier’s check last month.
Not having a dollar account, I tried to deposit the check, a birthday gift from a friend in the United States, to my peso account. I just expected a service charge and a long clearing time.
The bank’s branch nearest my apartment said I would be charged P1,500 and would have to wait 25 working days before I could withdraw the amount. At the current exchange rate, P1,500 is a third of the check’s peso value.
The branch where I have my account gave an even less helpful answer—it only accepts deposits of at least $500.
It was suggested I should open a dollar account with an initial deposit of $100. Since I do not expect to make any more deposits after the check, I know what will happen. My initial deposit of $100 will steadily disappear because of service fees, penalties, etc.
I can close the account after the check has cleared, but think of the hassle involved just to get my $100 gift.
In the end, I had to tell my friend that I was returning her gift, as ungracious as that was. She was quite surprised at the difficulty I encountered. She said she regularly sent checks to her nieces and nephews in Japan (my friend is Japanese-American) and there was no problem at all.
But that is Japan. This is the Philippines, where it seems local banks will readily accept millions of dollars of questionable origin but will make it difficult to make modest but clean deposits.
The Makati Medical Center announces the availability of comprehensive medical and diagnostic services through the MMC Health Hub—the former Corporate Health and Wellness and Executive Checkup Centers.
The hub is designed to address specific needs of professionals, frequent travelers, people in high-pressure jobs and anybody who just wants to stay fit and healthy. It offers packages tailor-fit to a client.
To provide clients with utmost comfort and privacy, 14 inpatient rooms are being set for the MMC Health Hub Premier. A concierge and executive liaison officer will help clients with their particular requirements.
Mobile phone owners, particularly those with high-end units and who put every important information in their phones, may want to check out the new Tara application.
Rodolfo Noel “Jun” I. Lozada Jr., president and chief executive officer of Galileo Software Services Inc., says Tara (Theft Alarm and Recovery Application) “is like a seatbelt for your mobile phone.”
I have written before how even law enforcement agencies in the United States are asking mobile phone manufacturers to install kill switches in their products, as the number of injuries, even deaths, resulting from mobile phone thefts has also been increasing across the country.
The Filipino-developed mobile app, the first of its kind in the Philippines, is designed to deter phone theft through a kill switch that will render a unit useless to anybody other than the real owner. Tara is supposed to work even without WiFi access, Internet data or phone load.
A phone will also yell “magnanakaw!” when the app is activated.
Visit www.tara.com.ph to know more about the app.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]