Multiple High Street Banks Suffer Outages

More outages throughout the UK impacting several banks.

August 25, 2021
Multiple High Street Banks Suffer Outages
Ian Lewis

Written By

Ian Lewis

 
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Many of the UK’s leading high street banks had problems with their online banking accounts on Friday 20th August, leaving customers unable to access their banking information.

The fault was caused by an issue with a Sky broadband error, which resulted in the websites being wholly or partially unavailable from around 2am until 11am when the servers were fully operating.

The 9-hour outage is sure to raise more questions about customers’ access to their banks, particularly as many banks try to push more people into online banking so that they can continue to close branches and cut costs.

Affected banks

Many of the UK’s largest banks were affected by the service problems, including Santander, HSBC, NatWest, Halifax, Lloyds, First Direct, Marks and Spencer, The Co-operative Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Of the customers who complained about being unable to get onto their accounts, 97% were customers of Sky Broadband. The internet provider confirmed that the issues were with one of their servers, causing banking apps to time out, which stopped customers from being able to log on correctly.

Debit card payments, credit cards, telephone and branch banking and ATM services were unaffected. Customers were able to move funds between accounts if they needed to, but they were forced into more traditional methods either by calling their bank or making a visit to a branch.

Advice for customers who were locked out at the time was to try switching off the Wi-Fi on their mobile phone and trying to connect via mobile data instead. Customers who were still unable to access their banking services, or were unwilling to incur data costs, were advised to call their bank or visit their nearest branch.

Issues recurring — bank closures threatening convenience?

This latest problem for customers follows a number of other recent issues, including two at the end of July. Firstly, the Lloyds Banking Group suffered problems with their own servers, before an international DNS problem led to many of the high street banks in the UK having problems for hours.

All of these problems are unrelated — however, this only highlights how there are multiple potential issues that could strike at any time and cause customers to have trouble accessing their online accounts.

And while none of the recent problems have impacted debit card payments or ATM withdrawals, meaning customers have always been able to access their money and spend it, it has prevented customers from balancing their funds between accounts.

With the prevalence of online banking and the features offered by challenger banks such as Starling and Monzo, more people are using different accounts to budget, and removing the easy ability to transfer between accounts can cause problems.

This is only exacerbated by the fact that banks are closing more and more branches. Telephone banking services continue to be impacted by home-working employees too, causing longer hold times. Banks need to look into contingency plans for online issues if they intend to push more customers away from traditional in-person banking.

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