HSBC customers looking to grab a bargain on Black Friday had a nasty shock when they learned that they were locked out of their bank accounts. The HSBC mobile banking system went down last Friday, at the height of the Black Friday sales. It was unfortunate timing for shoppers, who needed to use their online banking apps to take advantage of the Black Friday deals. It is also bad timing, as MP’s announce they are investigating banks and the numerous IT failures reported this year.

Last month, HSBC online banking went down, leaving customers locked out of their bank accounts. In relation to this outage, a HSBC spokesperson said: “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 8:20 am and urgent action was taken to start firming the service, with normal service restored by 2:00pm. Throughout the issue most customers were able to log on after two attempts, as well as able to access/complete transactions by logging in to Personal Internet Banking via their browser, we apologise for any inconvenience difficulty this may have caused.”

The FCA is deeply concerned about the ongoing IT failures in banking. IT failures at UK financial services firms increased by a massive 138% in the past year, with IT changes being the leading cause, according to the Financial Conduct Authority. The regulator has disclosed that there were 600 technology outages reported to the FCA between October 2017 and September 2018. The most common cause of these incidents was changing the IT systems with this accounting for 20% of the reports.

The second most common cause for IT failures was issues relating to third-party suppliers, with this accounting for 15% of all IT failures. The FCA report also found that cyber-attacks are increasing at a higher rate. Cyber-attacks make up 18% of IT failures. The report comes as the parliamentary Treasury Committee launched an inquiry to find out why banking IT failures continue. It will also look at how consumers suffer as a result of IT outages and investigate whether financial services regulators have the skills needed to challenge companies over their IT.

If your banking services go down, what should you do?

 Make a complaint to you bank: Firstly, complain to your bank. If the issue is not resolved quickly, or to your satisfaction, or you suffered any financial problems, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service for free.

Visit your branch: Visit your local branch or telephone them if you need cash urgently and don’t have access to cash.

Have you suffered any knock on effects: If you have, take a note of dates and times, keep hold of your receipts and you may be able to make a claim to your bank.

Stay safe from financial crime:

Have you received an unexpected call, email or text asking you to provide personal information? Just because someone knows some of your personal details it does not mean they are genuine. They may know your full name, address, maiden name etc, but they could be a fraudster looking to extract more information from you in order to gain access to your bank account and your money.

  1. A bank or trusted organisation will never contact you asking for your PIN of full password, or to transfer money to a ‘Safe Account’.
  2. Never give out your personal or financial details unless you are 100% sure who you are talking to.
  3. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text. This could give a fraudster access to your personal details.
  4. Always question people who contact you through cold-calling. Under new legislation brought in this year, it is now illegal to cold-call and individual unless you have given your specific consent for them to do so.
  5. If you are in any doubt about who a caller is, end the call. You can always call the company back when you have obtained the company’s number from a legitimate and trusted source.
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