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Santander says sorry for weekend tech outage

Bank’s customers were unable to access multiple banking channels because of technical problems

Santander customers were unable to access banking services across various channels throughout Saturday 15 May as a result of technical problems.

For almost the whole day, the bank’s UK customers were unable to use telephone, online and mobile banking, as well as branches, cards and cash machines.

In a statement, the bank said it was “very sorry for the inconvenience” caused.

In its latest statement, it said: “Our banking services continue to run as normal, following the technical issue we experienced on Saturday 15 May 2021.

“Our branches, call centres and chat service are available as usual, however it may take longer to get through on the phone. We appreciate your patience.”

Banks have been increasingly driving customers to digital channels and transforming their operations to support this, but the problems at Santander demonstrate the need for banks to go beyond providing customers with the digital tools they require, but also 100% availability of services.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: “These technical issues will be causing stress for many Santander customers – with people reporting that they have been unable to make online payments or, in some cases, purchase food in their local supermarket.”

Shaw suggested Santander should offer compensation to anyone who has incurred fines, penalties and fees as a result of the problems.

Read more about Santander’s digital transformation

Santander added: “We are committed to making sure no customer is out of pocket, so if you have incurred costs because of these issues, you can request reimbursement by completing a simple form.”

Shaw said the latest problems also demonstrate “why it is vital that banks invest to ensure their systems are up to the task of protecting their customers’ accounts and maintaining the services they rely on”.

Santander is currently going through a four-year, €20bn digital and technology transformation, which includes moving systems to the cloud. It has so far migrated 60% of its IT infrastructure to the cloud, and has set a 2023 deadline to complete the transformation.

Last month, Dirk Marzluf, chief operating and technology officer at Santander, said: “Helping customers and creating the best customer experience is key for Santander. To achieve this, we are innovating and moving our services to the most advanced cloud-based platforms.”

The bank said it had invested in IT skills and last year added 3,000 people to its global IT team.

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