It started with Barclay’s bank customers angrily taking to Twitter to complain that online and mobile services are down and they are locked out of their accounts. The bank responded by merely saying they were working on the problem, but didn’t give any indication as to what had caused this lock out.
Later, the problem Barclay’s customers faced had spread like a wild virus to customers of the RBS Group, which includes Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank. Like Barclay’s customers, those banking with RBS also blasted out tweets complaining that they could not access their online or mobile banking.
It’s a strange thing when Britain’s biggest banks are all hit by the seemingly same problem within hours of each other. And no banking official has offered any solid explanation.
Customers unable to pay bills or access cash
It couldn’t have come at a worse time for many customers: the last two days of the working week are when businesses organise payments for workers being paid weekly. Others complained that they were unable to make transfers to their bank account in order to make payments for mortgages rent and utilities. Others received warning notices via text message from their bank, stating that they had to clear their overdrafts or face bank charges. However, due to being locked out, they have been unable to make any payments into their account.
Branch services no better than online
In addition, some customers found themselves locked out of ATMs, meaning they had no access to cash unless they went into their own bank branch. For many this is just not possible, as their branch may be some distance from where they work or live. And, those who could get to a branch faced problems there, as some branch systems were down and cash machines allowing people to withdraw larger amounts of money were not working.
RBS chief exec Ross McEwan admitted that “don’t know what went wrong,” but added, “We make a lot of changes to our technology and it may be that.” Well, it may be, but it seems odd that both Barclay’s and RBS have a ‘technology’ problem within hours of each other.
Consumers start looking elsewhere for banking services
More than a few RBS Group customers tweeted that they would be looking for another bank. This banking fiasco follows hard on the heels of the TSB disaster earlier in the year, when its computer system went into meltdown, leaving customers almost ‘bankless’ for several weeks. This is bound to result in consumer confidence in the big high street banks reaching a new low!