No let-up in digital banking glitches as TSB and HSBC customers are hit on payday

Online and mobile app banking outages continue to increase in regularity as TSB and HSBC customers report problems

One week after multiple banks experienced mobile banking outages, problems have struck again, as some HSBC and TSB customers have reported being unable to use online and mobile services.

Last week saw the Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Barclays suffer problems, and this week, on payday for many, TSB and HSBC customers are venting their frustrations.

Customers of the banks reported problems accessing mobile and online banking this morning (28 September).

At the time, HSBC took to Twitter with the following statement: “We are aware some customers are experiencing problems using mobile banking. We are investigating and will provide further updates.”

Meanwhile, a TSB spokesperson said: “We’re aware of an issue affecting some of our customers when they are using our mobile app and internet banking this morning. We are working hard to fix these issues and will update again as soon as we can. Customers are still able to use their cards as normal.”

HSBC has since given an update: “An earlier issue where some customers were unable to log on to the HSBC mobile banking app has been resolved and users of the app should be able to log on as usual. The issue was identified at 7:40am and urgent action was taken to start stabilising the service. Throughout the issue, most customers were able to log on after two attempts, and the normal service was restored by 9am.”

HSBC said it will carry out an investigation into the cause of the problems.

The speed at which the retail banking sector is being transformed by digital technology is making digital banking outages a regular occurrence. These modern systems have to connect to legacy systems, which are complex, often leading to failures.

TSB has been blighted by IT problems for months. In April 2018, the bank migrated millions of customers from the legacy systems of Lloyds Banking Group, which hosted them, to a new core banking platform from its parent company Sabadell.

But disaster struck during the migration and many customers were locked out of their accounts and saw money disappear from online accounts. Some were even able to see other customers’ accounts.

Banks are reducing their number of branches in favour of investing in digital services via apps or online. Outages, no matter how small, add up, and can harm a bank’s reputation because of the speed at which news of a problem spreads across social media. Even people who were not trying to use a banking app or online banking service will join the chorus of complaints.

Lev Lesokhin, senior vice-president at software quality company Cast, said banks in other geographies don’t have as many problems as UK banks.

“Based on our research, UK-serving banks such as HSBC and TSB don’t do as good a job at controlling the structural quality of their legacy systems. So the UK banking sector has some catching up to do in getting that kind of software intelligence.”

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