TSB online banking problems – who’s affected and what can you do?

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Some TSB services are still not working normally (as of 6th June), although most have been restored. However, the bank is receiving an increasing number of alerts about possible fraud. And many customers can’t get through to its fraud line. Here’s what we know.

What’s the latest?

TSB is being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for the IT fiasco. I watched the Treasury Select Committee session yesterday (5th June) and it was very revealing. Here are some key facts that emerged:

  • Getting online and using the mobile app: TSB online and mobile app were working at between 30% and 90% of capacity for a period of several weeks. The FCA said that these service levels were very volatile – namely, one day the online banking site worked at 30% of capacity and another day it could be much higher. The FCA criticised TSB for quoting averages, which were meaningless when service levels were so up and down.
  • Fraud: over 1,300 people have been victims of fraud. And the number of alerts that TSB is receiving that there may be fraud on a customer’s account, is rising. For customers where there’s suspected fraud, some or all of their banking will be suspended while it’s investigated. TSB have told me categorically that there has not been any hacking of their systems. Any fraud has been the result of fraudsters pretending to be TSB and sending emails, texts or making phone calls, or because the fraudster has got someone’s information from another source.

SAVVY TIP: New banking regulations came into force at the start of January 2018 (they’re called PSD2). They state that a bank must refund you if you’ve been the victim of fraud by the end of the business day after you told the bank about the fraud or that the bank became aware of the fraud. The only situation in which the bank cannot refund you this quickly is if it thinks you may have been responsible for the fraud. TSB has not been able to make refunds this quickly because it’s been overwhelmed with complaints about fraud.

  • Complaints: the FCA says that the TSB has brought in an outside company to work out how much compensation customers should receive.
  • Calls to TSB: between 1 in 10 and all calls to the call centre are being answered.
  • Payments: payments are being made, but not as quickly as they should be in all situations.
  • IT faults: New faults with the IT system are still emerging, but the rate at which they’re cropping up is reducing. One of the issues is that the bank is putting in fixes but these fixes aren’t necessarily working or faults are cropping up elsewhere.

As of 6th June, the information on TSB’s website is that online and mobile banking are working. However, some people seem to still have problems accessing their accounts or seeing the correct balances.

  • Branch network: The FCA said that TSB branches had had a ‘torrid time’ recently with the systems not working properly. Apparently the TSB has put in fixes but they’re not always working. The FCA said that it will ‘take time’ to sort the branches out.
  • Recovery plan: The FCA said that the TSB doesn’t seem to have an overall recovery plan. The FCA said that ‘TSB have got themselves into a hole and they have to get out of that hole’.
  • Communicating to customers: the FCA has criticised the way TSB has communicated to customers. It says that TSB has put a ‘rosy glow’ on what’s happened and hasn’t been as clear as it should be.
  • Bank switching: There have been problems with customers trying to switch away from TSB. In the worst cases, TSB generated automatic letters to their direct debit payees telling them that the customer had died.

What’s working at TSB

This is the latest advice from TSB (as at 7.30 pm on 6th June:

Problems getting online: TSB says its mobile app and internet banking are available, but if you’re having difficulty logging in, please try closing your mobile app fully and then restarting it, or closing your internet browser and trying again.

Calling TSB: Call centres are still busier than usual and it may take longer than normal to get through. I watched part of the Treasury Select Committee evidence on 5th June and the financial regulator, the FCA, said that between 10% and 100% of calls were getting through, but it depended on the time of day and day of the week. The best advice is to keep trying.  The call centre number is 03459 758 758

Using social media: You can tweet TSB @TSB

Branches: Branches are busier than usual. There are some problems in TSB branches, but staff are able to help some customers. You can find your nearest TSB branch on its website (you don’t have to log on for this bit).

Checking your balance: You can check your balance at any LINK cash machine if you can’t log on. You can also get a mini statement at any TSB cash machine.

Viewing your accounts: TSB says that all accounts, except for mortgages, can be viewed online (assuming you can log on, of course!). If you need to speak to TSB about your mortgage, it recommends you go to a branch. Some customers are having problems viewing information about their next credit card payment online because their internet banking inbox is currently unavailable.  They’re trying to fix this.

Debit cards: are working normally and can be used at an ATM to view your balance and withdraw cash.  You can get cashback from many high street shops across the UK.  If you are having problems using your debit card you can call TSB (but there may be a very long wait).

Direct debits/standing orders and payments: Direct debits and standing orders are working normally (they weren’t earlier in the week). Payments through their mobile app and internet banking are available, aren’t working normally for everyone (you may get an error message, for example). If you asked for a text with a ‘one time password’ you may not have received it.  TSB says if you are trying to pay a bill (e.g. your water bill), you can use your debit card.

Receiving money: Payments made into accounts are working normally.

Business customers: Some business customers can’t make payments. The only advice TSB gives is to go to a branch or ring its call centre.

How many people are affected?

TSB doesn’t have any definitive figures for the number affected. Initially it said only a minority of its 1.9 million customers who use online or mobile banking were affected. The bank has almost 5.5 million customers but most don’t use online or mobile banking. On Wednesday it told the Treasury Select Committee that it had received complaints from 40,000 customers. If you want to see TSB being questioned/grilled by the Treasury Select Committee, you can watch it here (the link takes you to the Parliament.tv website).

What is TSB doing?

TSB said that all overdraft fees and interest charges for personal and small business customers would be waived for the months of March and April. TSB has raised the interest rate for customers in credit on its current account from 3% to 5%. TSB has promised that no one will lose out financially as a result of the IT problems (quite right so too).

What can I do?

If you’re still having problems, call its telephone banking line or go into a branch. The call centre number is 03459 758 758. It’s also the number to ring if you think you’ve been the victim of fraud. If you’ve received emails you suspect be fraudulent, you can forward them to emailscams@tsb.co.uk. Don’t click on any links or attachments (obviously!).

SAVVY TIP: TSB says it has not and will not email anyone asking for their PIN or username. And no-one has been emailed by TSB as a result of the IT meltdown asking them to reset their PIN or password by clicking on a link. If you’ve received an email like this, it’s fraudulent.

So, if you’ve incurred bank or credit card charges because you haven’t been able to make payments, TSB should compensate you for that. You should also be able to get compensation if you missed out even if you’re not a TSB customer – for example if you were due to be paid by someone who’s a TSB customer. I’d also claim compensation for inconvenience, especially if you’ve been kept on the phone for a long time or have had to make other plans because you can’t pay bills.

If you don’t get anywhere, complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service and you can use the free complaints service Resolver if you want to be guided through the steps you need to take to complain. It may also be worth contacting your MP or emailing the Treasury Select Committee.

How to complain

The easiest way to complain is to do so online. Here’s the link to the TSB online complaints form.  You can also complain in a branch or in writing if you prefer.

Will it affect my credit rating?

TSB should take steps to make sure your credit rating isn’t affected. If you make a payment that’s a few days late, it may not affect your credit rating because lenders only send information to the credit reference agencies once a month. However, the company you’re late paying may charge you (especially if it’s something like a credit card company).

I’ve tried to find out from TSB what steps it’s taking to stop people’s credit rating from being damaged, but it will only say it’s looking into this.

Watch out for fraudulent emails and texts

I’ve received a fraudulent email that was designed to look like it was from TSB. It asked me to reset my password. As I’m not with TSB, I knew it wasn’t from them, but be warned that fraudsters are capitalising on what’s happened. Don’t click on a link from an email that looks like it’s from TSB.

Can I switch bank?

You can switch to another bank if you’re fed up with TSB. Bear in mind that it will take seven working days from when you open the account with the new bank or building society. That’s assuming that the bank you’re moving to is part of the current account switching service. Most banks and building societies are, but some of the smaller ones are not.

The bank you’re switching to has to handle it all and it’s their responsibility if it doesn’t go through smoothly.

Related articles:

Not happy with your financial provider? Complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service 

Cashback to switch banks – switch banks and get up to £200

Online-only banks – six digital-only banks

What is open banking; open banking explained

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