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back to article Barclays online banking falls over in outage riddle

The Barclays online banking website has been offline since about 8am BST this morning for reasons unknown. A spokesperson for the bank said that the issue was "still being investigated", and they didn't know yet what had caused the site to fall over, but none of their other computer systems are affected. The site is telling …

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Earlier than 8am

It was offline at 5:50 this morning when I tried to use it.

8am is probably the first time someone reported it meaning that that's when the SLA for fixing it kicked in. ;)

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coincidence?

I noticed that gnucash.org was offline yesterday too ... could this be just a coincidence?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: coincidence?

Yes, it could be just a coincidence.

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Anonymous Coward

Network

There was a nationwide BT network glitch this morning. Maybe related, maybe not.

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Marvellous. And meanwhile Barclaycard rejected an online transaction this morning because it looked a bit iffy. Nothing wrong with the credentials used apparently it just matched some - presumably heuristic - algorithm. Even chip and pin transactions can be blocked sometimes although they said it was unusual. I don't mind them querying transactions after the fact(*) but I find it disturbing that they now sometimes block the transaction first.

Oh well. I've applied for another CC so in the end it's Barclay's loss not mine but that rather puts a dent in the concept of living a cashless life. I'd been doing so well at that as well :(

(*)'cos it's their problem then. I guess they've got tired of doing that.

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Black Helicopters

Now if only you'd set up a Continuous Payment Authority with who ever you were trying to pay. Those seem to work even if you've closed the account and cut up any cards years earlier, whether you want them to or not. Strange that.

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Anonymous Coward

Sigh...

Bank stops possibly fraudulent transaction: Bank is in the wrong

Bank allows possibly fraudulent transaction: Bank is in the wrong.

If I found out that my bank was allowing possibly dodgy transactions to be processed, in order that they can then check if it was ok with the customer, I'd move bank. Transactions can't always be recouped by banks, especially if they go abroad, so all the other customers of the bank would end up paying for your convenience.

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Flame

Re: Sigh...

>Bank stops possibly fraudulent transaction: Bank is in the wrong

Definitely. In this case it was only a garage door but what if I had just filled the car up with petrol? Or enjoyed a lovely meal with a friend? I don't (didn't until now) carry any cash so I'm screwed.

>Bank allows possibly fraudulent transaction: Bank is in the wrong.

Not to me they aren't. It won't cost me any money if a fraudulent transaction goes through on my CC. Well - only as part of a small ongoing cost that we all share.

If it had been a debit card then fine. That's why I don't use my debit card other than at the ATM. Someone taking my is a big deal and for sure I'd want such transactions stopped. But a credit card is a whole other deal. It's not my money being stolen in that case. Credit is all about risk and the CC issuer should have that factored into their business model. They shouldn't leave me high and dry just because they might be about to lose £100..are are Barclays so weak at the moment that even £100 quid lost to fraud would hurt them?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sigh...

re: Point 1 - You simply call your bank from the petrol station (they are required to be able to let you call) and query the refusal, it's then accepted, this takes a matter of minutes.

re: Point 2 - They do have the risk factored into their model - that's why certain transactions get refused. Of course if you'd called them they would have sorted it out. As for your quip about £100, all those £100s lost add up, it's not just about you.

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Unhappy

Re: Sigh...

"You simply call your bank from the petrol station (they are required to be able to let you call) and query the refusal, it's then accepted, this takes a matter of minutes"

A matter of minutes - not to me it didn't. Had the same thing happen with my Visa debit card.

In Ikea - queue mounting behind me, card kept getting refused - they then put me on the phone with Santander and it took forever for their side to pick up - then we went through the usual stuff of confirming who I was etc. Turned out they put a block on my card because of an "unusual" transaction. That transaction was me ordering a once every 5-10 years TV... online... delivered to MY address... and they'd blocked my card for over a week without telling me.

They also couldn't let the current Ikea payment go through for 24 hours until they unblocked the card. My wife then had to pay with her card, which was for the same joint account.

Up until that point I never carried credit cards or cash - now I make sure I've got at least 1 backup payment option.

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Re: Sigh...

>Bank stops possibly fraudulent transaction: Bank is in the wrong

>Bank allows possibly fraudulent transaction: Bank is in the wrong.

Disagree completely. If they reject a payment, it's you the customer who is emabarrassed or inconvenienced. If they pass a fraudulent transaction, it's the bank's problem, not mine.

My bank makes thousands each year out of me and my company but I swear the next time they reject a £20 card payment at the station that means I missed my train home I will close all my accounts with them (or insist they pay me a £150 "administration fee" for the inconvenience every time they incorrectly refuse a payment).

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Facepalm

Did Bobby Tables change banks from HSBC to Barclays?

Given HSBC's recent problems and now Barclays - BOTH performing a Denial Of Service attack upon there customers. One has to wonder if Bobby Tables ( http://xkcd.com/327/ ) recently got a bank account at HSBC and then Barclays. Who will he go to next we have to wonder!

Personaly though I'll blame them both for getting rid of IT staff who know what to do as apposed to ones that have bits of paper that say they know what to do in controled circumstance. Huge difference and sadly the difference in actual pay is so small but still acted upon as a fiscal savings approach.

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Re: Did Bobby Tables change banks from HSBC to Barclays?

Is Little Bobby Tables apposed to controled circumstance?

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Sir

The usual suspect is probably to blame. Someone installed a patch that borked the server and someone(s) else hasn't documented the 'restore from backup' procedure - assuming there is a recent backup.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sir

They are a major UK bank, they are required by the FSA to test DR for each critical system once a year.

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Re: Sir

So, are you saying that because they are *required* to test every critical system for DR functionality every year that they *have* done?

Seems a bit naive if you don't mind me saying.

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Re: Sir

Nar, they will have done one...

But you don't have to *pass* the DR test

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Re: Sir

Barclay's used to be very diligent about their failover tests. I was involved in several tests over the years I worked there. But that was when they actually had people in the UK, and did not rely on it being run from Pune or Singapore.

It used to be a big issue if one of the tests failed, and they generally had a second test pencilled in when the initial one was being planned just for this situation.

Still, it's been over 5 years since I last worked there, so who knows what has happened in that time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sir

"...So, are you saying that because they are *required* to test every critical system for DR functionality every year that they *have* done?

Seems a bit naive if you don't mind me saying...."

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. I've worked for many large financial institutions and DR rehearsals are taken extremely seriously. I would argue that the person who suggests that everything a bank does is self serving and about spending as little money as possible and then suggests that they're going to allow their systems to go down causing massive reputational and financial loss, is the one who is naive.

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@AC 14:23

What makes you think I don't have first hand knowledge of how the financial institutions of this country operate?

I'm not saying it is done for penny-pinching purposes, I'm saying that their networks have become so organic and cumbersome that it is inevitable that some critical services aren't given 100% attention when it comes to failover and testing.

Billions of pounds can go missing for days in the current systems, and since banks only pay these kinds of sums at the last minute it usually means a hefty financial penalty. Doesn't stop it happening though.

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Incompetent idiots.

If I could, I would charge them a £20 fee everytime any online anything from them fails. But I can't

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Re: Incompetent idiots.

What you can do, however, is write them a pointed letter if they ever try to charge you £20 for a small slip-up, pointing out their history of slip-ups too. Often works.

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FAIL

Bunch of clowns

When they introduced the new site, your entire old payees list was simply deleted. Not there, not carried over, new database.. gone. Called them up and they said.. uh, tough.

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None of them have a clue

Recently reactivated online access to RBS. They sent me an unsecured email welcoming back with my access number plain as day in it (as well as my postcode). I replied (after removing the number) pointing out the security risk of it, and surprise, surprise no reply.

And this after all it took to get back online was to put some personal details then it told me the number and asked if I had taken note of it and wouldn't proceed until I had clicked yes. So telling it to me was more than a bit redundant.

Loggin in however is a silly security theatre nightmare. I never have to put in my fiendishly though up password, only count on my fingers for the 3rd, 7th and 11th digits. i suppose it still case sensitive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: None of them have a clue

That would be a customer number, not an access number, it's not intended to be secure.

I also suspect that you're replied to a "no reply" address, hence the no reply.

As for your third para, do you expect us to think that you've got experience in security, if you can't see why they only ask for fragments of complex number and letter passwords?

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FAIL

New site = RUBBISH

The new Barclays Online site has been rubbish since day one - took me 5 attempts to push through a BACS payment - far too many Ajax requests firing off, and interrupting your typing with useless popups that you then had to close and then it kept crashing.

Went to make a complaint - presented with form to contact CS - duly filled in and hit submit - "Sorry the online site is unavailable right now" - tried this 3 times...

If they don't get their cart in order soon, I'm changing banks - sorry but when they pay contractors £500/day, I've no idea why they've evidently used monkeys to build this offering.

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Barclays new site is pretty awful

Agreed - BUT which bank has a better site - Lloyds/Bank of Scotland is not too bad but why can't these guys get it right?

The worst is probably Clydesdale - don't even go there!

NJSS

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Barclays new site is pretty awful

Lloyds/BOS is rubbish, If you're doing online payments, sometimes it deducts the funds, but doesn't show the transaction, and the least said about posting dates for weekend transactions, the better.

Coop's not bad.

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Unhappy

Re: Barclays new site is pretty awful

Thinking of moving to the coop myself.

When I complained (in writing) to Barclays about their site they promised a reply by the middle of this month. Well, they were true to their word, I got another letter promising a reply by the middle of next month.

'king muppets!

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Meh

Hmm.

Logged in, no problems, did what I needed to do, again no problems. interestingly, the note when you log in there says:

"As part of our upgrade work, we'll be carrying out routine maintenance to Online Banking from 1am to 3am on Wednesday 23 May, during which time the service will be unavailable.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Message updated 22 May 2012"

Coincidence? I think not!

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...the newly launched Pingit app

Not on a rooted Android phone you can't. Because a rooted phone prevents Pingit working. Annoying as hell.

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