What does the TSB experience teach us about online banking?

TSB haven’t had a good time recently, and the same can be said for the nearly 5 and a half million customers who still couldn’t access their accounts after 7 days of technical meltdown. When the bank attempted to migrate some of their services to a new platform, involving the transfer of 1.3billion customer records, those customers were met with an array of problems.

They saw it all, from no access whatsoever, to logging in to their online banking service, to being greeted by accounts which they did not recognise as their own. One customer reported having access to a business account to which they held no affiliation, with a balance of over £2.3m. Despite releasing a since retracted statement, boasting of the ‘capacity of [their] technological management’ of the transfer, Josep Oliu, chairman of TSB owners Banco de Sabadell, was forced to accept the scale and impact of the mishandling.

The real world consequences of such a massive lockout, the size of which we haven’t seen from a British bank since RBS in 2012, are enormous. Although Paul Pester, CEO of TSB, has since taken responsibility of the IT failure and tweeted announcing, “Of course, customers can rest assured that no one will be left out of pocket as a result of these service issues,” it’s too little, too late for some customers. With business accounts being affected, some companies have been unable to pay their staff.

So in a banking climate where over 700 bricks and mortar branches closed last year, and thousands of call centre jobs are being slashed, what are we to do to protect ourselves from the next online blackout? The simple answer might be to not keep all of your money in one place. It’s worth considering opening another account so that if one bank experiences a similar problem, you’re not completely shut out.

If you’ve been affected by the TSB fiasco and want to move to another bank, first make sure you claim any compensation you may be owed by TSB. When claiming compensation, it’s important that you’ve kept a record of each time you were affected, so you’ve got evidence of the full amount you could be due.

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