Millions of savers had no access to their money yesterday after a collapse at the beleaguered National Savings & Investments.
A ‘power outage’ hit the systems of the Treasury-backed bank, preventing many of the 25 million savers from accessing the website, while customer service was unable to help them over the phone.
Savers trying to log in online were first told to queue, with a customer telling them to wait for four minutes, which ended up being 40 minutes, and when they got to the ‘front’, the website crashed.
NS&I savers had no access to their money on Monday after ‘technical problems’
An error message was displayed to This is Money: ‘This site cannot be reached. The connection was reset.’
The power outage, details of which NS&I released this morning, proved frustrating for dozens of savers, some of whom needed access to their money, who asked the bank’s customer service team on Twitter what was wrong.
One client, Jon Rowley, said this money is needed to cash in some premium bonds to pay bills.
Over the weekend, I got a final reminder before debt collection to pay a six-month service charge of £ 1,145 for my flat.
‘It should be paid in January, I was waiting for my February wage to pay it off.
My £ 320 auto insurance renewal is also due in early March so I was hoping to cash in some Bonds and combine them with my salary to pay these bills.
“Unfortunately, I tried to log in from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm yesterday so that I could redeem the Bonds.”
The Essex saver described it as the ‘most stressful and frustrating day ever’, adding, ‘I could have had debt collection agencies at my door, I could have gotten an unordered overdraft, it was just a lot of worry.’
By choosing to have Premium Bonds paid out online before 8:00 pm, the money is typically returned to current accounts within days.
Savers trying to access their money had to queue first – 40 minutes in one case – but when they got to the ‘front’, the NS & I website crashed
A tweet Monday just after 1pm from NS&I said: ‘We have some technical issues with our website and we are currently investigating this – we will get it back up and running as soon as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience. The tweet received 35 responses.
Another customer, Chris, summed up the state of mind of die-hard savers when he replied, “NS & (not) me, as I haven’t had access to my account all day.”
A third, Holly Edwards, responded to the tweet just after 5pm: ‘Still can’t log in. (I) need to access my account – when can I log in? ‘
NS&I was approached by dozens of customers on Monday in response to the online outage
NS&I told This is Money yesterday afternoon at 3:40 PM: “ We are experiencing a technical issue where customers may not be able to access their online account at this time and our call center teams cannot access customer information.
“This means that our call center agents can currently only answer simple questions. We are working hard to resolve the issue as soon as possible and will provide an update as soon as we have more information.
“Money invested at NS&I remains safe and is 100 percent supported by HM Treasury.”
Treasury-backed bank said ‘technical issues’ caused customers to not manage their money online
The issues were fixed just after 5pm on Monday, but the outage is the last the Treasury-backed bank needed after a 2020 where complaints increased by 43 percent and average customer waiting times on the phone in October over 20 minutes amounts.
Meanwhile, savers withdrew £ 26.5 billion in the last three months of the year after brutal interest rate cuts on savings accounts that previously topped the best buy tables.
The issue was resolved Monday night after online access was blocked for much of the day
Just a month ago, CEO Ian Ackerley wrote to MPs to say he was “determined to bring NS&I back to providing the high quality service our customers have come to expect.”
He said the bank had hired 280 customer service representatives and opened four new call centers, and “ implemented a detailed operational recovery plan to reduce waiting times, address complaints faster, and reduce backlog of customer inquiries. ”
Conservative MP Mel Stride, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said in response that ‘the damage that may have been done to NS & I’s reputation in recent months was’ ‘concerning’.
NS&I boss Ian Ackerley told MPs he was ‘determined to bring NS&I back to providing the high-quality service our customers have come to expect’ after a difficult 2020
He added that the bank should “ work hard to win back customers, ” something unlikely to be helped by Monday’s latest meltdown.
NS&I told This is Money this morning, “The problem was caused by a power outage in some of our systems, preventing customers from accessing their accounts.
This was quickly identified and our teams were able to resolve the issue. NS & I’s contact centers were available everywhere to support and advise customers and to help with simple questions. The website, contact centers and systems were fully operational again around 5:00 PM last night.
“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience. All repayments requested by customers will be made on time. ‘
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