By DANILO REYES
THIS article may be of interest or useful to some, particularly internet users. For some, who have not even got their hands hold unto computers, this may be meaningless, but sharing how technologies could have benefits to our daily lives is also good.
Like most average Filipinos, I grew up not knowing these two alien terms: ‘computers’ and ‘internet’, until I began schooling for a university. In those days, like any students does, to learn lessons that is not familiar to one’s daily life surely is difficult to absorb, especially when one could not see the benefit from it.
Also, the lack of means, like having computers and internet access, to be able to use them regularly in order to eventually change the habits and attitudes towards these technologies, also deprives a person the possibility to enjoy their benefits; and to realize these alien terms and technologies does relate to our daily lives—for instance online banking.
Unlike in most of our banks back home, there is still pessimism and distrust over the applicability of online banking. Firstly, most of our banks still depend on over the counter transactions. Secondly, though some banks do already have online banking system; however, in terms of protection and security for users it remains poor.
When I tried registering for an online bank from my local bank in Manila, they are requiring an inconveniently lengthy process to even register as a user. It was in addition to the personal records and details they already have on me with them when I opened the account. For an overseas depositor, like me, it obviously defeats the purpose of the online banking: convenience and reliability.
But when I had my online banking account opened through the internet with my bank here in Hong Kong, which is located few minutes from my office, I needed not to go through the process of over the counter transactions, and submit further personal details. Since I’m already their current depositor, online application, with the help their using a sophisticated and secure verification process, I was able to get online internet banking access in no time.
It is where I pay my monthly bills, from cable subscription to credit card payments. In fact, they had my savings and credit card accounts merged for online banking. It is certainly convenient, reliable and time saving. Meaning, through online banking, you can do thing from paying monthly bills, credit cards and to make purchase altogether! By a punch of your fingertips what was used to be a lengthy and tedious process are done in no time.
Their customer’s service, too, is great. An inquiry or questions to your accounts are replied in three working days, if not, account users are called by their phones. Though they too are not completely spared from any failings on customer service, like any banks does, but relatively their service does satisfies their customers and depositors. I am looking forward and be absolutely elated should our banks have this kind of service.
Apart from online banking, newcomers in Hong Kong would be amazed by how use of various cards has become a way of life here. Any local person would at least have five cards in their wallets and purses that they used for their daily routine activities—these are cards that used to pay for fare for bus, trains and shops; cards for borrowing books from library, ATMs and credit cards, amongst others.
It is certainly difficult not to have these cards with you are part of your daily
Apart from online banking, public library users could also access their accounts online. They could search and borrow books, extend the due date of their books, or make reservations even on exclusive books and materials that perhaps could be a collector’s item. Even our private universities back home, at least the university where I came from, is far too dilapidated in terms of the services these public libraries provide.
But of course, these are only good for us reflect that these are possible but does not at all perpetuates the notion of colonial mentality. As I have already mentioned at the beginning of my article, before anyone could appreciate these benefits and absorbs them as useful part of their daily lives, it should have a combination of the availability of means and opportunity in any society.
At the end of the day, it is all but simple: for any average Filipino, what is the use of a cork opener (wine opener) when we does not even drink wine?
It reminds me of both my father and my father-in-law who, at the age of over 50, never had any chance to taste even a drop of wine. When I had my birthday held back home a month ago, I thought it could be a best treat for them. But not only did they struggle to finish the expensive wine I bought for them, they also later even asked me to buy locally sold cheap rum instead because they did not like the taste.