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RBS and NatWest hit by Black Friday tech issues

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
A man walks past a branch of The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in central London August 27, 2014. Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Customers of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) and NatWest have been left unable to access online banking on what is likely to be one of the busiest days of the year.

Customers of both banks took to Twitter to complain of issues accessing their accounts. Down Detector, a website that tracks online service issues, also recorded a big spike in reported issues at RBS and NatWest, beginning around 9am on Friday morning.

”Looks like #NatWest online banking is down today,” Michael Dilley said on Twitter. “Good job it’s not payday and Black Friday or anything.”

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when retailers launch pre-Christmas deals meant to lure shoppers. For many people Friday is also payday, as the final day of the month is Saturday.

Some of the customers taking to Twitter to complain said they were business customers of the banking group.

Both RBS and NatWest, which is owned by RBS, told customers on Twitter they were “currently looking in to reports of issues with some of our services” and “working hard to fix this.”

READ MORE: Bank customers suffer five IT glitches a week

“We are aware that some customers are experiencing intermittent issues accessing our mobile and online banking,” a spokesperson for RBS told Yahoo Finance UK.

“We apologise to customers for the inconvenience and are working hard to fix the problem. There is no impact on debit cards, credit cards, ATMs, telephone and branch banking services – customers can continue to access these as normal.”

The outage comes at an embarrassing time for RBS, which just days ago launched a new digital-only bank called Bó. Mark Bailie, chief executive of the new lender, emphasised in the launch statement that the bank would be “built entirely on a separate cloud-based technology” and would “harness new technology.”

Earlier this week 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.”

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