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HSBC e-payments system limps back online

Mystery database glitch blamed for extended outage

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HSBC UK managed to get its beleaguered e-payments system back online yesterday evening after the second extended outage in less than a fortnight.

Retailers using the system were unable to process transactions from about 5pm (BST) on Monday until Tuesday evening.

Similar problems left merchants unable to take payments for two days over the weekend of 29-30 March. E-commerce firms using the service have intensified earlier calls for compensation.

In an email message to retailers (below), HSBC blamed the latest problems on a database glitch. It promised that services would be restored, following testing, at 9am on Wednesday. Merchants have told El Reg that the service came back ahead of schedule at about 7pm on Tuesday.

The service was operational from 12:00pm today but we have since encountered a number of further performance issues.

As previously advised the issues that we are facing relate to the databases.

This is the first time that we have experienced this particular issue and we have engaged the help of both the database suppliers and the providers of the application.

In order that we can provide a stable platform to fully support your business, regrettably we have temporarily suspended the Secure ePayments service with effect from 15:30 today.

This suspension of service will allow us to undertake further correction and testing. The earliest the system will return will be 9:00am tomorrow.

The Bank's Executive Management are fully aware of the situation and appreciate your continued patience throughout this further period of service disruption.

HSBC's e-payments system is attractive for retailers because of the relative speed in which the money can be transferred into online bank accounts.

As previously reported, Merchants who rely on HSBC are angry about the latest outage.

We're yet to hear back from HSBC on what steps it intends to take to avoid the problem happening again or comment on whether or not it intends to offer compensation to affected customers for lost business.

Reg readers report that HSBC's e-payments site also went down for a day in January, making a total of five days of outage in the last three months. In a recorded message the bank said the cause of the latest outage had become the subject of a "full investigation". It added that it was continuing to monitor the system "closely through peak periods". ®

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