So. As with a lot of blueocean products, Niyo Global (in my opinion) was a game changer.
As a person who spends extended amounts of time out of the country and find myself dealing with atrocious forex conversion rates through banks and agents abroad, having a card that I could simply pop into an ATM and withdraw funds in a foreign currency was heaven sent.
Things went smoothly for a while and I found myself actually referring a lot of my colleagues to buy into this card, because it was addressing a solid pain point that we faced.
In fact, my mostly pleasant experience with the product prompted me to repeatedly query Niyo Support over multiple emails about the possibility of a tie up/referral scheme that would have potentially added between 100-500 people to their consumer base within a matter of days. The emails garnered some response, but nothing came out of it eventually, so even I let it go.
Around this time I found that the whatsapp support feature was just abysmal. Why use it as a selling point when the implementation is so bad! From what I understand, it is always better to under promise and overdeliver, rather than overpromise and underdeliver - a theme that would recur as time passed.
In contrast, the email support is quite nice. Usually quick to respond, and coming though with solutions on most occasions.
After a while, the Indian government (in it’s infinite wisdom, apparently) saw fit to start levying a 10% TCS on all foreign transactions. I mean, there’s nothing Niyo can do about it obviously, and since it was a government rule to be applicable across the board, having no real alternative I made my peace with it.
Then came the reversible account maintenance fee. At that time, it almost felt like a bait and switch, no joke. It felt like a badly implemented freemium model. In fact, I don’t even remember being asked whether I would like to pay a fee to continue the service, I was just greeted with the charge on my account. I may be wrong since some time has elapsed since these events took place, but at least that is what it felt like.
As irritating as it was, though, it still wasn’t a deal breaker as it was reversible.
Next I came to the realization that there was only one way to transfer money out from the account - IMPS. I guess for most this wasn’t an issue, but there were times where I needed to use NEFT and didn’t have that option available to me. I can’t image the rationale behind omitting such a basic feature, especially when this product is supposed to be superior tech. I can understand having NEFT and not IMPS, but the opposite is simply counterintuitive to put it as mildly as I can. The product just seems to be becoming more and more inconvenient to use!
Anyway, this was made peace with too.
Next, after transacting in and out many lakhs of rupees over the time I have been thrown another googly. An NRE account that I was frequently using to fund my Niyo Global account up till recently, suddenly started failing. On emailing back and forth with support over 2-3days, they finally told me that inbound transactions from NRE/NRO accounts are no longer acceptable. As a customer, what am I to do? When was this policy made/changed? Why wasn’t I informed about it? What if I were stuck in a situation where I only had access to my Niyo card, and not my donor bank’s card since I was so used to have it work flawlessly umpteen times before? This is no way to implement new policies where customers are not informed of such changes.
With all this and more, the value proposition of the card is no longer attractive. I mean I am getting extremely good conversion rates with my IndusInd Credit card, which in addition to giving me the usual 50-30day breather for payments and accrual of points being an added little bonus. What is my incentive to keep using the Niyo Global card apart from the fact that it will allow withdrawal of funds at foreign ATMs at a decent rate, provided I can find an alternative way to fund the Niyo account?