Lloyds TSB, Halifax tech stumbles into the cold, goes titsup for hours
'Something from the weekend' stopped your payments going through
Lloyds TSB and Halifax saw their faster payments system fall down yesterday morning after a computer problem at the weekend stretched into the beginning of the week.
The Faster Payments System processes payments within a few hours instead of the next day turnaround required to clock transactions over older systems. According to the Faster Payments website, over 85 per cent of phone and internet payments are processed through Faster Payments.
But it didn't work for Lloyds or Halifax customers - both part of the Lloyds TSB Group - for all of yesterday. All other payment systems were operational, said the Lloyds spokesperson, who stressed that payments could be processed but just less quickly, for most customers only next day delivery was possible.
Lloyds customers took to Twitter and a forum on MoneySavingExpert to complain that the service was down.
The company would not be pinned down on the root cause of the problem, which it would only describe as "something from the weekend". A spokeswoman told The Reg: "There hasn't been a failure it was just something from the weekend that we are aware of and working to fix."
Late on Monday afternoon, Lloyds issued the statement:
We are working hard to fix an issue that is currently affecting some faster payments. We apologise to customers affected by this, and we anticipate that the full service will be available later today. All of our other payment services are unaffected by this issue, and customers can continue to process the significant majority of transactions.
The service was apparently back up at 17.00 GMT yesterday, according to a statement Lloyds gave the BBC. However, at 18.00 GMT, the forum posters were still having trouble processing their payments. ®
In my personal experience, customer service and IT reliability took a big turn for the worse when Bank of Scotland got eaten by Halifax. Before that, you were pretty sure everything would work, and if not there was a rapid personal apology and the problem was fixed.
Halifax's greatest triumph was probably paying off my mortgage twice on the same day, after being specifically told to avoid that. (Then they sent me a form letter asking if I had noticed that I had exceeded my overdraft limit).
Recently, for the best part of a year the Web page for my Halifax MasterCard was grossly deficient. Not only did it not tell me when my next payment was due, it didn't even give a current balance! You could perhaps define that as the simplest and most essential duty of a bank to its current account customers.
As other comments have noted, everything is suffused with a soft mist of deception, euphemism, and equivocation. There is never any honest and open admission of failure, and even when it is blatantly obvious that there has been a cock-up, it is smilingly denied. As for customers, they can complain if they wish to waste their breath, but the very most they will get is an insincere expression of regret from some anonymous underling.
"not a failure"
So it was a deliberate outage to mess customers around?
My experience - customer since the age of eight, when it got me a cuddly toy squirrel; family, customers since my great-uncle was a branch manager - is very similar. As soon as BoS collided with Halifax, the wreckage started decaying: features started getting dropped from online banking, things became less reliable...
Even now my mother's credit card balance isn't visible in their online banking fiasco! Mine is, oddly (though I never use it, keeping it around just in case of 'emergencies'; Amex gives me spending rewards, Barclaycard works well enough for the places that don't take Amex).
I was actually bitten by this outage: my own Amex payment went through (from my BoS account) in about an hour, my mother's BoS card payment was relegated to the next-day route, as was a small transfer to my brother's Royal Bank of Scotland account (paying him for some tickets he'd bought me). Until reading this article I didn't know it was a service outage ... which says something about the quality of BoS communications.