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HSBC's cash crash forced me to work off my dinner

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Letters For HSBC, keeping thousands of customers from their money is just part of doing regular business with the bank. The company explained away Sunday's multi-hour ATM and credit card outage by telling us that it resulted from a "standard server" issue. HSBC issued no apology and called the whole kerfuffle "a minor" incident.

Oh, but our dear readers thought it anything but minor. Some were trapped at cash registers unable to pay for their groceries as angry senior citizens scowled at them. Meanwhile, those hoping to enjoy a pint or two were forced into the kitchen to clean dishes on Sunday evening after they failed to pay their bills.

Worst of all, some members of the Reg flock reckon HSBC's cock-up was not a rare affair at all.

"This was a very minor problem,"

Not for us, we were left red-faced in a pub when we couldn't pay for our meal, we had to wait while one of our party went to get some cash from the nearest machine; a 30 minute round trip.

Jonathan F. in Manchester.


Just read your story on HSBC 'issues' over the weekend. My First Direct Visa, my First Direct Debit card and my partners First Direct Debit card all came through as 'not authorised' while shopping yesterday.

The flustered sales assistant spend 15 minutes trying to reach Visa's approval line while we attempted to reach First Direct - without success.

Naturally - everything works fine today (Monday) and there's no sign of an explanation as to what happened. An apology would be nice - considering three different refused cards probably lead the management of the store we were in to believe that we were trying it on.

Mark P.


I can confirm this was more then a "couple of hours" and not just limited to cash machines. I went to several licensed establishment yesterday afternoon and found they were loosing a lot of business as no one with HSBC cards (Debit or Credit) could pay for their Sunday lunches, nor the beer they'd just ordered and had poured . This was still going on when we left at 6ish.

Stephen D.


Further to this story, this has been going on for weeks at least. I went to buy some books with a HSBC debit card in Cardiff last week (Tuesday) and the shop assistant said they'd been having problems with HSBC cards all day.

Then on Friday I took some friends out for a posh meal and my HSBC credit card was declined. The embarrassment!

Sam N.


My card was rejected at a cashpoint on Sunday 8th October – I rang HSBC who said there was nothing wrong with it and I must have keyed in the wrong pin number – I certainly had not!!

My son’s card was snaffled by a Halifax machine on Saturday 14th and my wife had her card refused in a supermarket on Sunday 15th October. I rang HSBC to be told that there was ‘a major problem’ and only 10% of all transactions were being handled on Sunday. As this is not the first time that our HSBC cards have been refused for no reason on our part and I am seriously considering the trauma of changing banks for the first time in my life!

Regards Chris R. in Wirral


I was hit by a similar HSBC problem one weekend, two or three years ago.

Luckily, I have a card from another bank.

It's when something goes wrong that we find out how good a company's IT system really is.

Dave B.


And they’re the lucky ones. First Direct (a subsidiary of HSBC) closed my account recently without telling me, which resulted in PayPay slapping £42 worth of charges on transfers initiated before the closure date. I expect that too will turn out to have been caused by an “IT issue.” I’m currently trying to get that money back from HSBC. I’m not holding my breath, though.

Cheers, Mike S.


HSBC do seem to have a very 'customer unfriendly' attitude towards fraud.

Not sure if this is of any use to your article, but I have personally experienced HSBCs attitude when it comes to vague suspicion of fraud!

A few months ago I bought an LCD TV with my debit card on a Friday night. On the Sunday I took the girlfriend out to a restaurant and after handing of my card had the embarrassment of being called to the back of the restaurant because of 'payment problems' I then was handed a phone and had to have a chat regarding my bank account being frozen and explaining my most recent transactions with an audience of fellow diners watching me! I hadn't been given any kind of warning that they would do this!

I was told to call a number to activate my card and they allowed this particular transaction to go through. The next day I went to a customer meeting and realised that I didn't have enough cash for lunch and that the carpark I was in did not accept Amex (the only other card I have) so I called the number and was then told that they could not enable the card again and would have to cancel it, even though I assured them, as I had on the Sunday, that my card was not being used fraudulently and that I can account for all the transactions made! I had to change some old euros that luckily I had left in my wallet to get enough cash to get my car back, and had to wait until the following Monday for a replacement card.

Even though I complained to HSBC I didn't/haven't received an apology and now bank with somebody else (after 10 years of using their services).

Best regards,

Adam W.

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