NatWest, HSBC Suffer Outages

More online problems for high street banks.

October 27, 2021
NatWest, HSBC Suffer Outages
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

 
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Both NatWest and HSBC suffered outages on Monday, leaving many personal and business customers struggling to access their accounts and manage their finances.

Hundreds of NatWest customers began reporting problems getting into their accounts from around 12.30pm on Monday, with the problems mainly around the online banking tool. NatWest reported that it was fixed by 2.30pm, but did not reveal the cause of the issue.

The problems occurred just one hour after HSBC fixed their own problems, with hundreds more customers unable to access the online banking service or the HSBCnet app. Those problems began at 9.30am and were resolved by 11.30am. Similarly to NatWest, HSBC has yet to reveal the reason behind the outage.

On-going Online Outages

A number of people took to social media on Monday to complain about both banks. According to the website DownDetector, which collates reports of outages, customers were affected throughout the UK, with most reports coming from London.

It’s just the latest in a string of online banking problems that have affected some of the larger banks in the last few months, which may start to concern customers. Very few problems have been reported at digital-only banks, which could prompt people to start considering them as an alternative.

Back in July, a major DNS problem hit multiple banks, including HSBC, Barclays, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, TSB and Tesco Bank. It ran for a similar length of time, with customers unable to access their information for around 2 hours, and prompted a huge number of complaints.

And earlier in July, another problem affected the Lloyds Banking Group. While this issue was more contained and only impacted 1,000 or so customers, it did last for longer — around 5 hours during the day.

These problems can cause people problems because a lot of banks have introduced extra accounts or money pots to help customers budget, following the lead of challengers like Monzo and Starling.

However, if the online services go down, customers can’t log on to transfer their money between accounts, which could leave them unable to make payments. Telephone banking is usually available but wait times are long even when banks haven’t been recovering from COVID-19 and the impact of working from home.

Critical Time For Banks

It’s been a rough year for banks as they try to maintain profitability whilst ensuring customers feel like they are being looked after. Many high street banks have been closing branches, arguing that footfall is down and that more people are moving to digital banking.

At the same time, banks are also being hit with negative press around their handling of fraud, with many customers left out of pocket after being scammed as banks avoid taking responsibility.

However, if the high street banks keep trying to move more people into online and app-based banking, outages like these will make it more difficult. While customers can make withdrawals during online banking outages, it is causing people to struggle to make payments or move money around.

Banks need to make sure that they start to turn around some of the negative feelings building about their digital transition, especially if they plan to continue closing branches.

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