I am a extremely satisfied long term customer of Bendigo Bank, and rate them head and shoulders above all the other banks in Australia, but I recently had an interesting situation arise with them, which I can only describe as absolute lunacy. I will state up-front that this event has not caused me to stray from my opinion that they are the best bank in Australia, and as being a Muslim who faces the same situation, I am fully aware that we should not allow a couple of bad apples in the organisation to influence my opinion of them as a whole.
It all started when I was attracted to their promotion to personalise my bank card. For just $10, I could send them a photo to have printed as the background on the front of my bank card, which would look much more classy than the plain old generic card background. I was careful to review their image guidelines, and proceeding to use their interface to upload my images and design my card.
This was the image I chose to upload as my bank card’s background. It was a simple image saying the word Islam.
I later received a response from Bendigo Bank advising me that the image did not meet their guidelines, and an exchange of emails ensued to get to the bottom of the matter.
Yes, you read that correctly. Selina has ‘invented’ a new guideline which does not appear on their official guidelines page. So I proceeded to advise her of this, and asked her to talk to her manager if she was still unclear.
Phil became involved, and he was nice enough to admit that they did not reject the image because it breached their guidelines, but simply because they are allowed to reject any image they want if they choose to do so. I must admit that this is correct according to their clause at the end of the guidelines, however I wanted to know what made them so afraid of a image that said the word Islam.
Phil decided to avoid my question and not give me his reason for rejecting the image. It was at this stage I knew I was in for an uphill battle, and that there was something suss going on down at the Bendigo Bank. I decided to be open with him about my thoughts.
So there it was. The image was rejected based on a clause in the Bank’s image guidelines which isn’t listed on the bank’s image guidelines. Miraculous. It must be an invisible clause. If there was any honesty to this claimed reason for rejection, it would have been listed on their image guidelines, and in fact, it still has not been added to their guidelines in the 8 months since this incident occurred.
Disheartened, I moved forward in my quest for an Islamic bank card, and found some nice images which would make great card backgrounds. These were the 2 samples which appealed to me the most.
If anyone is interested in creating their own Islamic bank card with the above two images, you can download the full size image below.
Torn between these 2 great images, I eventually settled for the green photo. Thankfully, I didn’t have any problems getting this photo approved, and my new debit card arrived within a couple of weeks. The card looks great, but unfortunately I can’t seem to get a good photo of it.
Despite the unpleasant situation with my first image, I would still highly recommend Bendigo Bank for any person residing in Australia. Their customer service is first class, and you get to speak to real people on the phone, unlike other banks with these automated robots keeping you on hold for an hour. Although they do not offer Islamic banking accounts (at least not when I was in there last), they have been kind enough to make a modification to my regular bank account so that it does not receive interest, providing me with a truly halal bank account.
As Islam continues to grow in Australia and across the globe, we hope that people become more educated to the reality of Islam and Muslims, instead of getting their information from Fox News and the mainstream media. If people learn the truth about the religion, they may not be so afraid of the word Islam the next time somebody wants to have it printed on their bank card.