back to article RBS debit card payments have gone utterly TITSUP

The Royal Bank of Scotland's debit card system has suffered a TITSUP, that is, total inability to support usual payments. NatWest has acknowledged the issue, telling complainants: "We're aware of some issues with Debit Card Payments, and are working hard to fix them. Sorry and thanks for your patience." We're aware of some …

  1. Mutton Jeff

    Again?

    RBS.fail

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glad I'm no longer involved in dealing with this sort of thing...

    That would be the ruining of many peoples weekend. The people without money, and those stuck on the interminably long recovery calls (feel free to choose who you feel most sorry for, but neither will be having a good day!). It's disappointing they are still having these issues - you can never remove the chance something like this will happen, but if it's your core business, you'd assume you'd be spending a lot of time and money to stop this happening. I'm just not sure they are. :(

    It'll be interesting to see if the expected explosion of fin-tech companies that we'll see in response to the opening of bank api's will improve or worsen this situation (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/10/consumer_trust_central_to_success_of_uk_initiative_on_open_data_in_banking/).

  3. Rich83

    Inevitable

    As has been reported before, 'IT upgrades' replace hardware but it's still running the same bloated, buggy code. I recall someone saying they had worked for a high street bank whose code still contained conversion from pounds, shillings and pence... The balloon keeps going up, the question is how long can you hold on for?

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Inevitable

      I walked into the local Barclays (now closed :( ) a few years back. Noticed they had all new tiny little thin clients too small with hardly any cooling/vents (which I assume overheated as they were down for replacement/repair the next week) and commented on how they looked "new".

      The cashier said "Yes, so new the software still shows dollar signs our side, but it puts a pound symbol down when we print your statement".

      The fact it was outsourced software was not a problem, but that no time had been taken to actually change the GUI etc for their specific currency zone. So it makes you wonder where else they (and other backs, see headline above) cut corners/pushed out "upgrades" too early. :(

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Inevitable

        Oh, seems I pushed out my post too early too. Must remember to proof read, "other banks", not "backs".

        Oh well, the risks of IT...

  4. SMFSubtlety
    Thumb Up

    total inability to support usual payments

    Bravo! just perfect for a Friday!

    (This is both to RBS, and to Author 2936!)

  5. Leeroy Silver badge

    Grrrr

    I'm guessing that's why my Eve online subscription didn't renew then :/

    I'm off to run up a nice big bar tab and hope they don't fix the issue before I leave :)

  6. MakingBacon
    Facepalm

    Something for the weekend?

    Not if you bank with RBS!

  7. Oldgroaner

    Used fivers

    The only way.

  8. defiler Silver badge

    But... but...

    The man said a nice new mainframe would fix everything. And they put aside £500M for it. And the IBM rep probably bought a nice new yacht and everything!

  9. Andrew Jones 2

    I assume that since this article has not been updated that the problem has not been fixed?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      How many times must a bank fail at transactions

      Before they lose their banking licence?

      RBS and Natwest do seem to have suffered very similar failures rather more often than any other UK banks.

      I wouldn't mind so much, except that my employer happens to bank with them. Maybe they won't for much longer.

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: How many times must a bank fail at transactions

        The answer, my friend,

        is blowing in the wind.

        The answer is blowing in the wind.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple fix

    Take your money out and move banks

  11. Andy Non Silver badge
    FAIL

    So what happens when...

    you've just filled your tank with petrol and your debit card is refused and you don't have any other cards or cash? You can't exactly syphon it back out of your tank and into the pump again.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: So what happens when...

      Totally right. Complete and utter fail.

      I'm assuming that by reading an IT website you're interested in IT.

      I'm assuming you're aware of the concepts of resilience, disaster recovery and business continuity.

      So not having a second method of payment makes you the fail.

      SHIT BREAKS. Prepare for it and deal with it.

      If you only have one card, you should probably be taking cash out the ATM to make sure you can meet your obligation to pay.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: So what happens when...

        It is extremely difficult to maintain multiple current accounts

        The banks do not want anyone to do it, and it takes a lot of work to maintain multiple accounts within the rules set down for each.

        - if nothing is paid in or out for a while they go dormant and that kind of thing.

        So almost everybody has exactly one debit card for their exactly one current account.

        On top of that, many people either don't want or can't have any credit cards, for many valid reasons.

        So go on, how many DEBIT cards do you have?

        I have one (1). I used to have two but the effort required to keep the second current account active was just too much.

        1. Velv Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: So what happens when...

          Richard 12:

          I didn't say you had to maintain more than one current account.

          I didn't say you had to have more than one debit card.

          I didn't say you had to have a credit card.

          But you do have an obligation to pay for goods and services you receive. How you achieve that resilience is your choice but you're utterly niaive if you think you can rely entitely on one piece of technology.

          (Two, from different banks)

          1. Andy Non Silver badge

            Re: So what happens when...

            Personally I carry extra cash zipped away in a separate compartment of my wallet for use in case of "emergency". My question is what happens if an innocent customer finds themselves in the position outlined? I doubt the police would be interested as there is no attempt to defraud the filling station but the filling station will obviously still want payment sooner or later. Do filling stations have procedures to handle such a situation or is the customer left there in an awkward embarrassing stand-off and the cashier with a growing queue of customers unable to pay for their fuel? I guess the filling station would ultimately have to trust the customers to come back later to pay their bills, which could be rather dodgy if the customer didn't have any proof of identity or address on them; their only "ID" being their debit card and the registration number of their vehicle.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: So what happens when...

              In general they just have to trust that you'll come back. Most people in that situation would, and the rest are probably either fully written off or sold to some debt collection agency scum.

              They can in theory use the numberplate and the DVLA to track down the registered keeper and then try to recover the debt from them.

              However, unless they can somehow prove the registered keeper is the one that owes the debt, they have no actual way of recovering it.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: So what happens when...

              Presumably they still have a method for taking card impressions or similar and get the thing signed. Also they may not process the transaction immediately so will re batch it if it fails

  12. eionmac

    hand write a cheque. If they refuse , then they have a problem

    I carry a cheque book for ATM/retail point failures. Offer a cheque. if they refuse advise them you have the means of payment and have offered it. If they keep the cheque , you will allow card transaction next time when they surrender the cheque

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: hand write a cheque. If they refuse , then they have a problem

      Err... no.

      There is an actual, well defined concept of "if you offer $PAYMENT to the vendor and they decline, then you've settled the debt and it becomes their problem", it's called 'legal tender'. But the only thing that qualifies as 'legal tender' in the UK is cash - notes and coins, either issued or (in the case of Scottish banknotes) underwritten by the Bank of England.

      Cheques don't qualify. The vendor is within their rights to refuse your cheque and continue to demand some other means of payment.

  13. Huw D Silver badge

    For what it's worth, I had no problems with my RBS card at all and I made at least 20 payments to various companies and shops.

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