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HSBC and First Direct customers hit by online banking problems ahead of Christmas

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
HSBC and First Direct customers have been experiencing issues with online and mobile banking. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Hundreds of customers have complained of issues accessing online and mobile banking at HSBC (HSBA.L) and its subsidiary First Direct, just days before Christmas.

In a statement, HSBC said on Friday that it was “aware” that some customers were experiencing “intermittent issues” accessing its banking services, noting it was “working hard to fix this”.

The bank declined to say how many customers were affected or when the issue would be resolved, though hundreds took to social media to grumble about the issues.

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“We ask that customers wait a few minutes and try again. We’re very sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

On Twitter, support staff from the bank assured customers that the bank had not been hacked, but rather that it was experiencing issues with its online banking server.

The bank had reported issues on Thursday evening and had told customers that the problems had been resolved overnight. But it again experienced issues on Friday morning.

Some customers said on Twitter that they had not been able to access their account since 9pm last night.

Down Detector, a website that tracks online service issues, recorded a big spike in issues at the bank last night, and at around 9am on Friday.

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The outage comes after customers of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) and NatWest were left unable to access online banking on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

In November, publication Which? named RBS as the joint worst offender when it came to IT outages among banks. The consumer group said RBS suffered 18 IT outages between October 2018 and September 2019.

A report from MPs in October said the level of IT failures at big banks remains “unacceptable”. It called for the regulator to “take action to improve the operational resilience of financial services sector firms.”