Top 7 banking outages in second half of 2019
Banking outages have hit headlines thick and fast this year. As both incumbent banks and challengers have struggled to maintain consistent up-time, much of the blame has been put on outsourced tech companies.
But now, with the UK Treasury calling on regulators to hold banks to account for “unacceptable” amounts of IT failures, it seems governments are finally catching on to the debilitating effects it has on bank’s digital-only customers. This means downtime is no longer a ‘slap on the wrist’ affair, rather it’s on its way to becoming the subject of significant regulatory penalties.
Here is our shortlist, in order of when they came to light, of the top eight banking outages we reported on this year which caught also public attention – ofcourse many are never declared. Natwest appears on it three times, and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) twice:
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) delayed opening the trading of the FTSE 100 and 250 indices by almost two hours on 16 August. An LSE spokesperson as said “there is an issue which is affecting trading in certain securities”.
It was revealed in the the second half of 2019 that Barclays’ current account holders endured the most internet banking incidents between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019.
According to a report by Money Saving Expert, Barclays reported 21 such incidents to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in this year-long period. Next in line were Lloyds Bank and Santander, which both reported 15 incidents.
Banking customers with Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Tesco Bank and Nationwide Building Society experienced downtime On 19 August, customers were unable to access their credit card information when monthly bills were imminent.
The computer problems were down to an outage at US payments company TSYS, which called it “a hardware-related issue”.
RBS and Natwest’s online banking websites went down again a week later. This time, the pair’s online services were inaccessible for several hours.
In RBS’ case the disruption lasted seven hours, while Natwest’s online banking was down for nine hours.
US-based challenger bank Chime, which now serves more than five million accounts across its home country, left users in the dark on 16 October 2019 when they were unable to use their debit cards or pay their bills.
Supposedly Chime’s third outage since July according to CNBC, hundreds of thousands of customers took to Twitter saying they couldn’t pay for gas or hadn’t received their direct deposits.
TSB was hit by a set of payments delays which left customers out of pocket, while others claimed they had not been able to access their accounts.
The bank was forced to offer emergency funds, which was not a good look days after a report came out on its major IT meltdown in April 2018 which was caused by a botched core banking replacement.
NatWest’s online banking for personal accounts suffered hours of downtime on 29 November 2019 which saw customers unable to spend their savings or payday wages on Black Friday deals.
Its business online banking service Bankline also suffered similar downtime which followed a string of complaints made by business customers earlier in the week about other instances of downtime which stopped them applying for Help to Buy ISAs days before the 30 November deadline.