Smart Money MasterCardWhen Smart relaunched its mobile payment platform and dubbed it as “bagong pambayad ng bayan,” I thought it’s the best time to have my old, beaten, and recently misplaced Smart Money card replaced.

I have been using Smart Money to pay (via mobile-to mobile transfer) for goods I buy on ebay and to sell cellphone load to my friends and officemates.

A friendly customer care representative at Shangri-La mall assisted me in placing my replacement request, and I received my new Smart Money card after around a week. The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t look like the one being advertised, and it had a MasterCard Electronic logo instead of MasterCard. The last two digits of my Smart Money account number also changed.

When I activated the new card, the customer care officer on the phone assured me that the new Smart Money number printed on my card and the one from the lost card belong to a single account. She told me to just disregard the old account number and start using the new one.

I was glad that I didn’t have to wait long for it and that I could use it to withdraw money from any ATM.

Despite the disclaimer “Valid only where MasterCard Electronic is accepted” printed on my card, I still tried to use it on a website that requires MasterCard. As expected, it was declined.

I decided that I need to get another Smart Money card — this time the Mastercard version, which begins with 5299-67. The FAQ page on the Smart Money site says: “You can apply for a Smart Money MasterCard even if you already have a Smart Money MasterCard Electronic. To get your Smart Money MasterCard, please visit the nearest Smart Wireless Center.”

The same page also states that “a maximum of two (2) Smart Money MasterCards/Accounts may be linked to your Smart mobile phone.” Smart’s official account on Twitter, @SMARTCares, also told me in a direct message that “linking of 2 Smart money accnts to ur SIM is possible.”

So the next day, I went to the Smart Wireless Center at Gateway mall in Cubao. I was surprised when the customer care officer told me that I could no longer apply for another card since I already have an account linked to my SIM. He said I need to have another SIM card to apply for a new Smart Money account. But I didn’t want to buy a new SIM card and maintain a new Smart Buddy prepaid account. I asked if they could just unlink my existing Smart Money account from my SIM, and the reply I got was negative.

I consulted @SmartCares on Twitter again, and I was asked how many Smart Money accounts (active and inactive) do I own. I replied I have only one. However, discussing detailed problems such as this on Twiter was a bit difficult, so I called the Smart Money hotline and explained my problem.

If I could not apply for a new one, I told the custumer care officer, may I request that my MasterCard Electronic card be upgraded to the MasterCard version? The person on the phone cannot seem to differentiate MasterCard from MasterCard Electronic. I think she even thought that I just wanted to have the new design on my card. (I actually want both the new design and the online shopping functionality.) Upgrading my card is not possible, she said.

She also clarified that there can indeed only be one Smart Money account for each SIM card. I think Smart should rewrite the vague statements on the FAQ.

When I asked if we could just destroy the current account so I could apply for a new one, she said I should fax a letter and some required documents to 8457770. I will do as advised and see what will happen.

By the way, this problem reminds me of my Smart TextMail predicament. Through the years, I’ve been mostly satisfied with Smart’s mobile services (not including SmartBro). However, I wish Smart can solve little problems such as this.