You can forget about that Black Friday deal: Brit banks crap out just in time for pay day

NatWest, RBS, FirstDirect and Ulster all on the fritz

Young guy facepalms while holding a laptop

Updated UK banks Royal Bank of Scotland, FirstDirect and NatWest are all struggling to keep their websites up today, which is nice considering it's pay day.

Earlier this afternoon, NatWest posted the following to Twitter:

Natwest sent us this statement: "We are aware that some NatWest customers are still experiencing intermittent issues accessing our mobile and online banking. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience and are working hard to fix the problem. There is no impact on debit cards, credit cards, ATMs, telephone and branch banking services – customers can continue to use these as normal."

Downdetector is showing problems at NatWest starting just after 9am and continuing to the time of writing. The same site shows HSBC's FirstDirect having problems from shortly after 9am, and Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank, parts of the same group as NatWest, both saw a peak in complaints of unavailability at the same time.

The real shock is that TSB seems to have stayed online and available to its customers. It did, however, manage to stuff up payments and money transfers for some customers a week ago.

That came just a few days after the publication of a report into TSB's catastrophic failures last spring and summer, which left almost two million customers without access to their accounts for days on end thanks to a botched migration project.

The timing could be better – today is pay day for many UK drones, as well as being the traditional marketing hypegasm that is Black Friday.

The crapout also comes just months after the Treasury Select Committee called on banking regulators to get serious about British banks' continual technology failures. It pointed out that as banks continue to shut branches and remove ATMs, online and mobile banking services need to be more resilient.

They also warned of the dangers of many banks relying on shared services in the form of the same cloud providers. The committee further suggested that regulators enforce existing provisions to make an individual senior executive responsible for failures, noting that there has yet to be a single enforcement action taken for an IT failure.

You can read our take on their findings while waiting to do your online banking.

We'll update this story should we hear more from any of the banks' press offices. ®

Updated on 2 December 2019 to add

Natwest got in touch with us at 18:53 on Friday 29 November to say: "All our services are now operating as normal. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused."

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