Business

HSBC says online banking services 'returning'

HSBC branch Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Customers affected by the online failure are being advised to go to a branch, or use telephone banking

HSBC says its online banking services are steadily returning, after failing for the second day running.

Earlier, the personal banking site was not allowing customers to log on, while business accounts were running slowly.

"I'm pleased to say that we have seen a steady return of service to internet banking in the past few hours for our personal and business customers," HSBC's John Hackett said at 18:00 GMT.

The problems were blamed on "a complex technical issue within our systems".

When asked by BBC News whether some people might still have difficulty using its services, an HSBC spokesman replied: "there is a chance that might happen".

But Mr Hackett added: "It is encouraging that more and more customers have been able to log on this afternoon, and all customers should feel free to try."

"I'd like to apologise once more for any inconvenience that this technical issue has caused. We will be waiving any fees incurred as a result of this incident; and we will be happy to help all our customers with any issues that have arisen."

No external factors

HSBC said earlier that the problems had not been caused by a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack and were not caused by anything external.

HSBC is the UK's biggest bank, with 17 million UK account-holders.

Customers of HSBC's subsidiary, First Direct, have not been affected.

Earlier, angry customers took to Twitter to complain. One described the situation as "shocking disgraceful customer service".

Others said they had been charged a £5 daily overdraft fee, but were unable to put money into their accounts.

Sam Middleton-Bray, from Hampshire, said she had had difficulty getting information about what was happening.

"It's incredibly frustrating and we're not getting a lot of information from HSBC other than their brief messages on Twitter. Their website says to call the 0345 number, but I called it yesterday three times and got an engaged tone," she told the BBC.

Advice

HSBC was hit by a previous IT glitch in August 2015, which prevented 275,000 payments going through just ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.

One senior MP called on the boss of the bank to make sure such failures were not repeated.

"The frequency of these failures across the financial services sector suggests a systemic weakness in IT infrastructure. This is concerning." said Andrew Tyrie, the head of the Treasury Select Committee.

"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."

HSBC customers still affected by the problem are being advised to use the automated telephone banking service, on 03457 404 404. Business customers should call 03457 60 60 60.

Those with business accounts are usually restricted to transferring a maximum of £10,000 via telephone banking, but this limit has been raised to £100,000.

Otherwise, customers should go to their local branch, HSBC said.

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