Friday, March 6, 2009

Linking PayMate To Your ABN AMRO Bank Account

I'd got a PayMate (not to be confused with Paymate, the Australian equivalent of PayPal) a year or so ago. I don't really use it very frequently except that I'd got a few free coupons so I'd bought stuff with those.

Recently, in my ABN AMRO netbanking account, I noticed a link that read Click here to register for payment service through Mobile 'PAYMATE' [sic]. This sounded interesting since, usually, I'd come across stuff on the online shopping sites that cost just a little bit more than my coupon was worth. Or there'd be extra charges for shipping. I figured that if I could associate my bank account with PayMate (for example, with PayPal, you can add additional sources but the money in your PayPal account gets used up first. So you never run out of funds, but you also don't end up with a trifling balance in your PayPal account), then I'd be able to tap into those funds for the remainder of any purchase requirement, over and above the coupon value.

I needed to confirm this of course, so I called up ABN AMRO's customer care helpline. Not a very good idea. Those people weren't clear on what PayMate was themselves and even when I tried to make them understand that I had been using PayMate for over a year and I knew what it was, they insisted on trying to explain the PayMate service to me. Sigh!

Now don't get me wrong, the representatives are usually pretty helpful and I do like ABN AMRO's service. Except in this case, they had no idea about it and had probably not been trained well enough on the topic. Anyway, I'd read somewhere that instead of venting your ire on some poor phone jockey, who probably wouldn't be able to do anything about it anyway, and spoiling your and his/her day, it's better to say 'thank you', put the phone down, and dial in again, hoping you get someone better equipped to help you.

I tried that but to no avail. The next day, I called up PayMate directly and, finally, someone was able to tell me how this thing would work. So here it is, what you've (hopefully) been reading this post for - how would you use your ABN AMRO account with your PayMate account? How will it work?

 If you don't know how PayMate works, you should read their FAQ first.

Your phone number is your PayMate id, of course. For every bank account (or other source of funds) linked to PayMate (they plan to add others later), you will get a new PIN. This is in addition to the PIN you may have for your original PayMate account (if you do have one). When you make an online transaction, the PIN you authorize the transaction with will determine which source of funds is utilized.

So there is no question of using up any one source first and then seamlessly switching over to the next preferred source. The source you pick must have sufficient funds.

Too bad. I was hoping for a PayPal like model, I'd probably have used PayMate more often then. They just might introduce this feature though so it's probably good to wait and watch.