Global banking giant HSBC started 2016 badly – with glitches to its on line banking.
This was fixed after a few days, with the Bank spokesman citing “a complex technical issue within our systems”. The Bank’s IT department worked nonstop, running tests across various servers and systems to isolate the issue. The problem was fixed after a few days – but still, inevitably, caused chaos for many thousands of HSBC customers, both personal and business.
HSBC Chief Operating Officer, John Hackett, was clear to dispel any idea that the outage was due to a cyber-attack. He further apologised to customers, promising that “any fees customers incur as a result of this outage period will be waived.”
Customers of subsidiary First Direct were not affected. Some MP’s will be questioning HSBC executives over the matter, as a similar on line banking outage occurred in August 2015, which prevented over 270,000 payments from going through just before the Bank Holiday long weekend.
According to Andrew Tyrie MP (Con – Chichester), the head of the Treasury Select Committee, “the frequency of these failures across the financial services sector suggests a systemic weakness in IT infrastructure. This is concerning… I will be asking the chief executive of HSBC, and the regulators, for an explanation of these failures and action taken to sort them out. They just keep coming.”
Any investigation will once again see senior British based HSBC executives apprearing before British MP’s, following last year’s allegations that HSBC’s Swiss banks were helping wealthy clients evade tax.
It just goes to show the importance and popularity of on line banking. A British Banking Association (BBA) report from 2014 indicated that internet and mobile banking accounted for £6.4bn per week – an increase from £5.8bn in 2013. Internet banking services saw on average seven million logins per day. Those figures date from 2014: doubtless 2016 will see even greater number of internet banking users and transactions, as people embrace internet banking more, and banks update, improve and market their on line services more. Indeed, a previous post (Atom Bank: The Future Of Banking? http://www.frugalphil.co.uk/uncategorized/atom-bank-the-future-of-banking/) has already highlighted the steady rise of on-line banking, both on computers and increasingly via mobile apps. For both banks and customers banking, on-line services and banking are going to grow and become increasingly more important. Already, banks are starting to market their on-line banking services to new customers, in addition to their current and savings accounts, and other financial services and products. The nature of, and services offered by, the traditional bank branch are seeing slow but subtle change.
With more and more money being moved on-line, with more and more everyday transactions carried on on-line, banks need to be increasingly aware of the capabilities, limits and security of their on-line systems and servers. However, computers and IT systems are fallible, and probe to any number of glitches or bugs. Any number of technical issues could impact upon your ability to monitor and oversee your finances on line. That is without the ever present threat of cyber warfare, or hacking, in whatever form that may take.
It is always advisable to be prepared. What would happen if your on-line banking went down? Make sure that you take the appropriate steps to protect your finances, and ability to pay your debts and bills, in the event that you cannot use on line banking, for whatever reason. Make sure that you are prepared for a banking computer crash, and therefore protect your finances.
Set cash aside, and make sure you can make payments manually, or even use that rather old fashioned cheque book if necessary. Some experts suggest ensuring that you have a ‘safety cushion’ of money (in assets or cash) if that worst does indeed happen.
Essentially, it is always advisable these days to be prepared financially for a banking computer fault or crash. That applies equally for the banks as well as their customers.