HSBC hails "steady return of service" to online banking

Functionality began slowly returning to HSBC's beleaguered digital banking services last night, after two days of outages affecting the company's 17 million customers.

COO John Hackett lauded the "steady return of service" to personal and business customers' online accounts, but HSBC told IT Pro it cannot confirm a full return to service yet.

Hackett said in a statement released yesterday evening: "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. We will be monitoring the service very closely, ready to respond should any new issues arise.

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

HSBC also today declined to explain the technical fault behind the online banking failures that occurred at the beginning of the week.

The issues began at around 8am on Monday, prompting thousands of angry complaints on Twitter from frustrated users, though the bank promised that any penalties customers incurred as a result of the outage would be waived.

Yesterday it took steps to bolster its telephone banking and branch resources, expecting customers to turn to these options while online services were down.

This is not the first time HSBC has suffered such a failure - last August another issue stopped BACS payments from leaving customers' accounts, with the high street bank rectifying the problem a day later.

05/01/2016: HSBC: Cyber attack is not behind digital banking outage

HSBC has apologised for a digital banking outage that is now in its second day, but has denied it is the result of a cyber attack.

Saying it has identified an "internal technical issue", the high street bank added that its mobile app is back up and running, but admitted desktop users are still experiencing problems.

Its online banking services have now been down intermittently since 8.21am on Monday, and thousands of HSBC's 17 million customers have taken to Twitter to complain.

Customer Paula Munoz tweeted: "So annoying!!I can't still use @HSBC_UK internet banking. #Europe largest bank can't even have a reliable web site #HSBCdown."

And Lauren Smith wrote: "The whol[e] HSBC network is down!! Argh gimme my money!! #hsbcdown."

But HSBC's COO, John Hackett, said in a statement today that the bank is closer to solving the issues.

"There is a complex technical issue with our internet banking systems, and our IT team has been working non-stop since yesterday morning to find a solution," he said.

"This has involved many tests, diagnostics and trial runs. We are getting closer to solving the problem, but are not there yet. We can, however, confirm this is not a cyber-attack or any other malicious act."

He added: "We will ensure customers do not lose out as a result of this issue. Any fees customers incur as a result of this outage will be waived."

Instead of going online, banking customers are resorting to phoning HSBC or going into their local branches, and the bank said it has "mobilised all our available resources" to cope with the influx.

It remains unclear exactly what the cause of the fault is.

05/01/2016: HSBC apologises for mobile and online banking outage

HSBC has apologised for its mobile and online banking outage, saying it is investigating into what caused everything to stop working on the first day back to work after Christmas and New Year.

The systems went down at 8am yesterday morning and, as ever, customers took to Twitter to vent their anger, with one customer saying, "Nightmare. No mobile or online banking services for over an hour now. Telephone queues unreasonable. Bills to pay," while another said they were struggling to get through to telephone banking too "Oh @HSBC_UK I'm phoning *because* your website is down. Recorded message suggesting I try online at time of high call volumes not helping,".

HSBC announced the outage on Twitter shortly after it discovered the problems, but this did not seem to appease many of the company's customers.

It opted to fix business services first, followed by personal banking shortly after. Even after the company had claimed to fix everything, it was clear the network was still being battered by people trying to get online to make payments and check their balance after the Christmas splurge.

"Business and retail customers have been unable to access online and mobile banking on Monday 4 January since 8am. Personal Mobile Banking and Business Internet Banking have been restored, but due to high demand may be slow," HSBC said in a statement yesterday afternoon.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused and our teams continue to work non-stop to restore all other services. Regular updates will be provided. We will ensure customers do not lose out as a result of today's problems."

HSBC has not revealed what went wrong, although it would seem the problems have been going on for a few days, with the biggest complaint being the speed of service.

The bank came under fire last August when its systems suffered a hiccup, stopping BACS payments from leaving customers' accounts. However, a day after the problems were reported, it said it had fixed the issue.