What are your rights when mobile banking is down?

By Charlotte Yau

It seems like a more regular occurrence that banks are having issues with their online banking.

So it's good to know what you're entitled to.

Quite a few of the big name banks have suffered from IT meltdowns in the last few years.

Sometimes you may not be able to access your account online or it may mean your card is rejected when you are shopping or getting a round of drinks in.

In 2012 thousands of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) customers were completely cut off from their bank accounts for several days.

When this happens, it’s not only stressful and frustrating, but can cause a lot of problems if you’re due to make a payment, for example, which doesn’t go through.

However, as well as ranting on Twitter you can take a more proactive approach and ask your bank for some compensation.

Computer failures

If there is an IT failure your provider should put a message out, either on its website or social media accounts, to let customers know exactly what is happening. So keep an eye on social media and even tweet them so they can check for any issues.

For those people who aren’t online, calling up the bank or visiting a branch is another option – although this is likely to take some time.


The amount of compensation available will depend on the individual bank or building society but if you’ve been left out of pocket, you should be refunded.

RBS put aside £125 million in compensation when its computer systems went down in June 2012 and customers were encouraged to contact the bank if they had been affected. In this case you’ll need to keep records of anything you’ve paid out extra for – such as if money has been withdrawn twice from your account by accident.

Even if this hasn’t happened, the bank may set aside money to compensate people for the stress and annoyance of losing their banking access. However, this is typically judged on a case-by-case basis and can take a while to happen.

Complaining to your bank

First you will need to complain directly to the bank in writing. It helps to include as much detail as possible, along with copies of receipts if you've been left out of pocket.

It then has eight weeks to respond to you. If after this time you’ve not received the response you want, you can take the complaint further and go to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Switching current accounts

If you’re fed up with your bank you could always act with your feet and switch to a different one.

There are a lot of good offers around for new customers so it’s worth taking advantage of these if you’re looking to switch.

Top takeaway

If your bank’s internet service does come down, your course of action should depend on how inconvenienced you were. But if you lost money as a result you are fully entitled to reclaim that money. If you are really dissatisfied with the level of customer service the best option is always to move banks and take advantage of their new customer offers.


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