back to article Perfect timing for a two-bank TITSUP: Totally Inexcusable They've Stuffed Up Payday

It's Friday, it's payday, and UK online banking has once again come under fire, though if you're with TSB or HSBC you'll already know this. Reports of yet another British banking meltdown have been rolling in this morning. Of course the TSB app isn’t working on PAYDAY of all days fkn hell just let me see how much money I can …

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  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The Treasury Committee should insist on banks reopenning branches instead of closing them until such time that they can demonstrate that their online options are secure and reliable. That way we can get back to good, permanent branch networks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not a lot of point really..

      The 'branch' is typically just :

      - a row of ATMs attended by a self-trained sharecropper with a clipboard

      - a row of unmanned teller windows,

      - one office which is used by the area manager for pressure-selling 'investments' to any customer who has sold a house recently

      Anyone who wants to do any actual banking in the branch is told to sod off and go online, unless they have sold a house recently and have a hundred grand or more in their current account, in which case the area manager will be desperate to set up a meeting with them.

      1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Not a lot of point really..

        Branches used to be handy for paying cheques in, from those backwards organisations like insurance companies that insist on paying with cheques.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not a lot of point really..

          Cheques always work.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Not a lot of point really..

          "those backwards organisations like insurance companies that insist on paying with cheques."

          Also those backwards organisations like HMRC if you don't want to waste time with their online ID stuff. SWMBO occasionally has to write out checks. She runs classes in a community centre where there's nobody to take her money and she certainly isn't going to send cash through the post.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Paying in cheques

          Paying in cheques? That's what ATMs (or post offices) are for, although some banks (interestingly, TSB not being among them) have somewhat primitive ATMs that don't accept deposits.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Not a lot of point really..

        "a hundred grand or more in their current account"

        That explains it. Only about £90k and mostly in deposit. But that was Lloyds/TSB's attitude. It was a few years ago now so you might have expected the limit to have been less then. Anyway, I took their hint and did sod off; they'd already closed my preferred branch..

    2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

      Make sure those branches aren't dependant upon the same online services that keep failing.

    3. EBG

      agree

      Should be a condition of holdng a UK banking licence. And "proper" manned branches - not a line of self-service terminals.

    4. EBG

      oh and ...

      ... add a requirement that the IT is onshore.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or alternatively you could switch to a building society

      Nationwide for example, when I was surveying for my daughters first account they were the only one willing not to pass details to equifax/experion, the rest insited upon it even without overdraft or any other method to debt.

      Banks screwing up is why your money is increasingly worth less than the materials it is made from, fine if it was gold but no so great when it is plastic

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Nice way to start off payday....

    ...NOT.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Rather that waste time tweeting...

    ...I'd change banks. Admittedly, that is harder work.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Rather that waste time tweeting...

      Not really.

      Current Account Switch Guarantee.

      Go to new bank. Sign up. Instruct them to move your account over. They have a required number of days in which to do it, including all your existing payment arrangements.

      Including business accounts.

      If you're still with TSB now, I judge you.

      1. Avatar of They Silver badge

        Re: Rather that waste time tweeting...

        I think the OP might have been suggesting it is quite hard given where would you go. From TSB to? RBS, Natwest, Barclays and HSBC are all rubbish at keeping the app working. So the list of really good alternatives is thinning.

        And Lloyds / Halifax systems are only as good as India can write for them so I fully expect them to fall over very soon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rather that waste time tweeting...

          "And Lloyds / Halifax systems are only as good as India can write for them so I fully expect them to fall over very soon."

          They already are falling over. Halifax couldn't handle my change of address. I had problems with online purchases and my card address not matching the delivery address and statements and letters going to the old address. They told me a systems glitch had resulting in only some of their systems updating with my new address. They swore they'd fixed the problem only for more letters etc going to the old address. They said "oops" again, that should definitely not have happened again and said they'd definitely fixed the problem now. Guess what? More statements etc to the old address. Gave Halifax the boot then (I'd had other problems with their customer service / staff incompetence too) and I've just switched to Nationwide. Unfortunately, a week after the changeover, I still can't get into my new account online because they still haven't sent me a card reader for 2FA. Sigh. The words "frying pan" and "fire" spring to mind.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Rather that waste time tweeting...

            Any card reader for any bank should work (although they're harder to find now as other banks have moved to shitty mobile-based authentication).

            Also, you should have an alternative way of getting in based on a PIN and a memorable word.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Rather that waste time tweeting...

        Absolutely seconding Lee here. Switch your account. Make sure you open your account as early in the month as possible, you do not want to do the account switch when your salary is due any day. Also, the switch guarantee does not guarantee within 6 days of account opening (be aware of this). It guarantees a switch within 6 days of you/your new bank *starting* the switch. This date is usually confirmed to you within a week or so of you opening the account.

      3. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Rather that waste time tweeting...

        Last time I tried that, my old old bank (deliberately I reckon as it should've been a copy pasta) transposed 2 numbers of a direct debit, getting me into trouble with the company I was paying to.

        And then you need to jump through hoops to get your company payroll to acknowledge your new account, keep both open at least until the next payday to play "which account gets paid?" lottery, transfer money from one to the other, wait the requisite 2 days for a bank-to-bank transfer etc.

        Besides, all banks are useless, just by varying degrees. TSB, RBS and HSBC seem to be at the deep end, but they all have their issues (and don't get me started on Verified by Visa not recognising my new postcode, only allowing payments to my old address!)

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Rather that waste time tweeting...

          "And then you need to jump through hoops to get your company payroll to acknowledge your new account, keep both open at least until the next payday to play "which account gets paid?" lottery, transfer money from one to the other, wait the requisite 2 days for a bank-to-bank transfer etc."

          No... Current Account Switch Guarantee includes:

          "Redirect any payments accidentally made to your old account and get the sender to correct your details"

          So no... you switch, close the account, done. Not saying it's 100% perfect, but the only thing stopping you is your own paranoia about "what if my old bank..." which is exactly why you should switch away from them.

    2. SVV Silver badge

      Re: Rather that waste time tweeting...

      Knowing my luck, if I did move my account, the bank I'd choose would be the one which went down the following Friday.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Try it anyway. You might get a pleasant surprise.

        And it is high time that incompetent banks started to smart with people effectiveley "voting with their feet".

        If you don't leave, TSB will continue to not give a fuck.

        Besides, you are aware that Customer Loyalty means nothing these days, aren't you ? Stick with a bank for twenty years and have a slight overdraw problem and your bank is going come down on you with penalties and fines just as they will for the guy who signed up three weeks ago.

        So fuck it, move. And if the next one fucks with you, move again. We need to get mobile, otherwise those doddering fools sleeping on the Boards will not even hear the sirens.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Exactly. Vote with your feet.

          I have eliminated most of the high-street banks that way. The one that survives has only had stuff that doesn't affect me (e.g. business banking problems), etc.

          However I also have a few of the more niche players on the sidelines ready to move all my accounts to if I should get disillusioned.

          1. tfewster Silver badge

            https://www.which.co.uk/money/banking/bank-accounts/best-and-worst-banks-a3q5d8c6dj7y - Last updated: Sep 2018

            However, TSB are 4th in that list, so I'd take it with a pinch of salt.

            I'd like to see banks & ISPs compensate customers for loss of their time rather than service; If an outage doesn't actually affect me, no problem. But if I can prove I spent 20 minutes in a call queue or running around to find a working ATM, I should be compensated for that. Even a few quid per complaint would help suppliers focus on customer service :-)

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              The problem with that list is that it only shows the total number of outages, with no weighting for severity. TSB had just one outage, which lasted the whole of the period and covered everything, so it gets a better score than a bank where you couldn't do faster-payment transfers at 2am for 10 mins on several occasions.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          And it is high time that incompetent banks started to smart with people effectiveley "voting with their feet".

          There's the problem. Where do you find a competent bank to move to?

          1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Building Society

            Dr Syntax, I have moved from bansk to buildign societies and have that 'old-fashioned' bank feeling again: staff there who are happy to help, quick and good service, and I like dealing with a membership organisation.

        3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "If you don't leave, TSB will continue to not give a fuck."

          Correct.

          And they won't until customers start moving and (OMFG) they might loose revenue.

          That is the only thing that will cause them to change.

          1. Tom Paine Silver badge

            Re: "If you don't leave, TSB will continue to not give a fuck."

            Er. And the CEO having to quit, and let's be honest, anyone involved with this at a senior level has it on their CV for the rest of their careers (if they still have one). And I think you'll find the FCA and PRA will be levying fines in due course.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barclays problems too?

    Barclays online banking also seems to have a problem. Login works ok - but every time you logout Waterfox reports an SSL failure.

    Secure Connection Failed

    An error occurred during a connection to www.barclays.co.uk. SSL peer was unable to negotiate an acceptable set of security parameters. Error code: SSL_ERROR_HANDSHAKE_FAILURE_ALERT

    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.

    Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

    1. john.jones.name
      WTF?

      simple questions for the banks

      here are some questions for banks :

      security : do you share any of your infrastructure with other providers ?

      (while in most applications its perfectly fine to use "cloud" multi tenant infrastructure in banking it would be decidedly risky i.e. imagine AWS had Meltdown and Spectre problems and you hosted SSL keys there)

      security : do you rely on shared or third party infrastructure for archival and compliance ?

      (imagine having a american or south african company vet all messages to see if they are genuine and archive all financial data then expect their systems to be run for your benefit solely)

      security : do you use up to date systems for communications such as IPv6 and DNSSEC ?

      (imagine thousands of users all behind one IP address i.e. CGNAT and if that system fails to interact with a institutions load balancers correctly you might find problems equally it could be SSL handshake problems, this can be solved by advertising IPv6 address's to mobile phone providers and world at large equally to prevent interference by third party pretending to be your website address it might be wise to employ DNSSEC to sign your DNS responses rather than let dodgy wifi providers steal children's money )

      have fun

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: simple questions for the banks

        "security : do you use up to date systems for communications such as IPv6"

        I hope the answer to that question is No, given that it is merely an additional attack surface, and serves no useful function. You still need your load balancing servers for the 99.999999% of the population that uses IPv4, and, because balancing loads is a Good Thing.

        1. john.jones.name

          Re: simple questions for the banks

          sorry @katrinab

          maybe you missed the fact that pretty much all mobile connections are IPv6 then translated to IPv4 by the carrier/provider ?

          that makes your 99.999999% not true

          (for example linkedin has about 50% of its traffic via IPv6 )

          Although if you think your attack surface is reduced by reducing the number of IP address's I think you have bigger issues...

          perhaps time to invest in some education ?

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: simple questions for the banks

            Attack surface is reduced by reducing the ways you can reach it, ie only by IPv4 rather than both IPv4 & IPv6.

            1. john.jones.name

              IP address's

              > Attack surface is reduced by reducing the ways you can reach it, ie only by IPv4 rather than both IPv4 & IPv6.

              thats not how it works, just because a service is addressable via multiple IP address's does not increase or decrease its attack surface area

              in fact you REDUCE the problems by adding IPv6 since the consumers do not have to hide behind their provider (BT/EE/voda etc) they can communicate directly and the provider can deny individuals

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outraged of Tunbridge Wells

    I do worry about people like “Chloe hastie”. How is a banking app being down going to cause her to “waste money this weekend”?

    1. Valeyard

      Re: Outraged of Tunbridge Wells

      re-read it. The idea is that she wants to waste money this weekend but doesn't know how much money there is to waste.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Outraged of Tunbridge Wells

        Ah, OK. Just fill up a credit card and worry about it next month if that’s your attitude to money?

      2. Steve Kerr

        Re: Outraged of Tunbridge Wells

        Or......and this is getting out there a bit...

        Go to a cash point and get a balance view!

        1. Killfalcon Bronze badge

          Re: Outraged of Tunbridge Wells

          Gods I hope you don't do Business Analysis, AC.

          "During discussions, user stated they 'can't wait for the weekend'. Added Requirement: System must respond within working week."

        2. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: Outraged of Tunbridge Wells

          Try and find a cashpoint in some towns. With bank branches closing. You might find one somewhere like a petrol station. Hope it isn't out of order. Hope the screen actually works. Hope that it hasn't been tampered with. Withdraw cash and it'll likely cost you £1.50 for the pleasure of accessing your money.

  6. Jay 2

    404

    Somewhat ironic that the HSBC telephone number has 404 in it, twice.

    1. steamrunner

      Re: 404

      Someone in IT or telecoms there has surely made that happen? "Error: your money has not been found."

  7. Huw D

    So, in a nutshell, all the major UK banks are equally shit.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Pretty much. Although, HSBC didn't seem to be as bad as the others*

      *According to my unscientific memory of outages

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Yes. I think this is the first.

        Having said that, their App has one of the worst interfaces around.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So, in a nutshell, all the major UK banks are equally shit.

      I don't know, isn't Revolut a UK bank too? So far, that has worked well and it's the first time in my life that a credit card refund shows up only a day after it was issued.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Revolut is a prepaid card, not a bank.

        If I want to transfer €500 from my UK bank account to my Italian bank account, Revolut is a lot cheaper than doing it directly from bank to bank, and a bit cheaper than the likes of Transferwise. But in my experience, their customer service isn't that good.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        If you want to entrust your money to something which claims it is a bank but doesn't have a banking licence or a FSCS guarantee, go ahead and use Revolut.

        There are other challenger bank options which do have those (Starling, Monzo, Metro).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If you want to entrust your money to something which claims it is a bank but doesn't have a banking licence or a FSCS guarantee, go ahead and use Revolut.

          As I'll be meeting Revolut's big cheese in a few days from now, that is a good question to ask, especially because that meeting will be attended by some serious heavyweights in finance whom I know not at accept BS.

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