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August 27, 2019

NatWest and RBS suffer major outage as millions struggle to access accounts

By Evie Rusman

NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland are suffering a major outage to their online banking services.

Millions of customers have been unable to use their accounts and have taken to Twitter to express their concern.

One customer said: “This really isn’t good enough. This is the first day after the bank holiday and we have online banking to do today.”

Another tweeter complained of staff being unaware of the issue when being asked how long the website would be down.

A spokesperson for NatWest told the Express: “We are aware that customers are currently experiencing issues accessing our websites and online banking login pages.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused. We are aware of the problem and are working hard to fix it.”

Both NatWest and RBS have said the mobile app remains unaffected and have been urging customers to use it instead.

This comes as NatWest and RBS have been hit by a host of issues over the past few months. According to the BBC, NatWest experienced 25 outages 12 months to the end of June.

Speaking on this, Mick Bradley, VP EMEA at Arcserve, said: “In today’s global economy, ‘always on’ literally means always transactional. From NatWest’s outage today it’s clear that the industry is feeling the pressure.

“As banks undergo digital transformation, deploy newer technologies, and move further towards to online and app-based banking, they must make sure that their systems are ready when disaster strikes.

“If not, they risk upsetting customers, which may result in reputational damage.”

Complaints of the outage first appeared at 9am on Tuesday and these reports of customers experiencing difficulty have since continued.

Are banks doing enough?

These types of outages have become increasingly common within the banking industry. This has resulted in calls for these institutions to invest in necessary preventative measures.

Bradley said: “Banks need to turn to solutions which prevent IT disasters from occurring in the first place.

“Real-time data replication ensures constant availability of data due to its ability to rewind back to a point in time before an outage or an unplanned event.

“This removes the need to recover in the first place, so banks can always deliver on the service their customers expect.”

NatWest fell victim to a similar type of outage in September 2018 where customers struggled to access their accounts.

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