back to article Abbey IT upgrade 'chaos' hits small biz banking

A weekend IT upgrade at Abbey's business banking division left customers unable to login or transfer money in or out of their accounts on Monday. Some customers continue to report problems today, but Abbey says it has fixed system-level failures and that people who are still locked out of their finances are a tiny minority. An …


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  1. Nigel Callaghan

    Not warned?

    "Reg readers say they weren't warned about the changes" - I got TWO letters from Abbey in recent weeks about this, although there wasn't a specific date mentioned.

    Slightly disingenuous comment from Abbey that 'only internet and ATM' services were affected - Abbey Biz bank is an internet bank, so (apart from post) the normal way to handle all transactions is via the internet and ATM!

    However, I think I'll be a coward and wait a few days for things to settle down before I log in! Thanks for the warning.

  2. Ross

    Epic fail

    After jumping through the hoops, I was presented with a list of my Abbey Business accounts: current account, savings account, and then another instance of the current account. FAIL.

    The savings account and first instance of the current account won't let me transfer money between them, insisting I don't have authorisation to do so. FAIL. The second instance of the current account claims there are no linked accounts to which I can transfer money from it. FAIL.

    I spent half an hour holding on the phone before giving up. FAIL. (Who approved their contingency plans?) I want to know either when this will be fixed, or when I will be able to get through on the phone without wasting large amounts of time.

    There seems to be no way to contact them other than by phone. No email address, no contact-us form for business customers. FAIL. (We are nearly a decade in to the 21st century, will you please get with the program?) Even bounces. FAIL.

    Dear Register, perhaps you could ask the Abbey press people if they would make a statement on their website or via yourselves when the phone chaos is sorted out so I can get through to their help desk and get the accounts working again?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still don't Work!!

    They have not fixed it as i still get messages telling me that i am not authorised to move move or make payments....

    Guess that they have laid-off all of the software testers to save money as customers can test the software for them!!!

  4. Martin Lyne


    Scabbey National wouldnt give me a student account becuase.. I was a student and wouldn't be in full-time work.


    Natwest have been much more helpful ever since.

    I know I didn't need to recant that to you, but tough.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Abbey Business Banking

    Even if you get in, as of today you cannot use any of the estabished bill payments, transfer from current to reserve and vice versa or set up new payments to suppliers etc. All you can effectively do is to see you account. This is now linked to my own personl account login and so so from a secrity persective,if anyone get's mylogon data, they can have access to both my personal and business accounts - great! You can no longer see how much interest you have accrued and they can't even tell you that. They say that you should ever have been able to transfer between accounts and that this was an error. Howeverif you look at their web-site and the reerve account, it says transfer can be made via telephone banking and e-banking! It's a complete mess and they can't understand the problem they have generated from waht was a decet service. My money is moving to Lloyds TSB in the next few days. A colleague of mine says he has also lost his direct debits and had one payment bounced already.

  6. frank

    firefox 3

    Got through the hoops and was told that firefox 3 isn't supported only firefox 2 is supported, with a link to Wonderful. Links to the firefox 3 download page.


  7. Colin MacLean

    Fail fail

    Anyone else getting cheesed off with people augmenting their derisory comments with the word 'FAIL'?

    I've no idea where this phenomenon originated (possibly a school yard somewhere in the USA).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Colin MacLean

    Yes, I also find it irritating.

    Having said that it also ranks alongside people who say things like M$, mircosloth, crapple, etc. in that, wile being annoying, it's also quite a useful tool to allow you to totally disregard anything that the author of the post says.

  9. David Kelly
    Thumb Down


    Abbey's internet "banking" is absolutely shocking. Other banks offered better internet banking on personal accounts 8 years ago. I don't think Abbey's programmers have ever used one of their competitors' services or they'd see just how appaling their site is.

    Many banks have a memorable question and answer. So, when you log in, you are presented with your question "what's your favourite food", and you type in whatever the answer is. What I found mind boggling with Abbey is that they ask you to type in the question! You can imagine how easy it is to forget exactly how you worded it.

    What's your favourite food?

    What is your favourite food?

    What's my favourite food?

    What food's my favourite?


    How on earth are you meant to get it exactly right? The only way I ever logged in was to type in garbage a few times until it presented me with a different security prompt.

    If anyone knows how to send Abbey a complaint email please let me know. Their contact details don't give any means of writing to the internet banking department and all the usual suspects (webmaster@ etc) bounce back.

  10. Andy Watt
    Thumb Down

    Abbey not just crap at business banking

    I'm not surprised - I suspect they've been "upgrading their systems" for months now, in an effort to complete the merge into Santander. My joint account was completely messed up, with randomly cancelled cards, 45 minute phone hold debacles, customer service inadequacies, cards issued with incorrect names and to the wrong person... they even hung up on me during one fraught day where I rang them 4 times in total before I spoke to someone who could help at all.

    Abbey national are a pathetic excuse for a high street business, let alone a bank. They deserve to lose every last one of their customers, not least as their ability to clear up their own mess is limited, to say the least.

    My condolences to anyone who still banks with them. I do not.

  11. Andy Worth

    Re:firefox 3

    "Got through the hoops and was told that firefox 3 isn't supported only firefox 2 is supported"

    Sorry, so their "upgrade" involved moving the system so that it only supports the version of the browser which the developers say they are soon to stop releasing security patches for? With Firefox being I believe the second most popular browser that must affect a large number of people.

    I think I read that on the Reg anyway, that the plan was to drop support for Firefox 2 at some fairly nearby date.

  12. Peter Hunter
    Thumb Down

    P Hunter

    I have been unable to log into my Abbey Account for 3 days now.

    The call centre staff have been next to useless.

    After 3 hours on the phone to them I have been told that I will have to wait until next week before I can access my account.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Par for the course with SHAbbey

    Abbey are the absolute worst bank out here.

    Their IT rollouts invariably lead to days of downtime, long queues at branches or interminable hours on the line to offshore imbeciles incapable of deviating from their queue cards or tying their own shoe laces.

    I was sincerely glad to get shot of them after getting a number of gift baskets as apologies for poor service (including their call centre failing to transfer a large sum of money for me).

    My wife has stuck with these jokers so I am still forced to deal with them occasionally, and go through the bliss of queuing for 15 mins (average) to speak to a spotty teenager who invariably has to talk to the middle aged mumsy woman who is besieged on all sides by the other spotty employees.

    You can tell a lot about a companies business processes when their branches have signs everywhere saying they don't tolerate physical or verbal assaults on staff, I haven't seen another bank that felt the need to display such signs so prominantly

    Unfortunately I moved to Alliance & Leicester who have also now been taken over by the dreaded Santander, and while A&L have been brilliant I am watching them like a hawk for any sign of the rot setting in.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox 3 not supported

    I just ignored the message telling me that my copy of firefox 3 wasn't supported and it all seemed to work okay.

    Of course I have lost any access to my reserve account where 70% of my company's cash is held but hey!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Multiple failures

    Just got off the phone after waiting 30 minutes to get through.

    No access to one of my accounts after going though their new signin process, new login details in the post.

    Can't pay in cheques/cash at the ATM's, this has been down all week but they hope to fix it in the next 2 days

    Firefox 3 is "unsupported" so I switch to dreaded IE and get SSL certificate is invalid, very reassuring on a banking website!!!

  16. centenary
    Thumb Down

    abbey screw up

    Very very angry about this mess. I cant move over 50k of money out of my reserve account and I've got a VAT bill to pay at end of december. Good job job I've got some money in the current account but will I be able to pay HMRC? No guessing for what HMRC will say if I cant or dont pay that bill!

    Thing is, abbey should have seen this coming. They had a similar problem with the personal on line banking system a few years ago. When I complained then, I even offered my services as an experienced test analyst to put it right.

    I'll be closing the abbey account asap and moving to the FSB's business banking option with the Co Op Bank.

    Good work abbey!

  17. Harry Ziman

    Abbey: Don't let the facts get in the way

    The Abbey spokesman obviously has no idea - it is not working, people are locked out and will be for up to 10 days.

  18. Frank Smith

    Lies, Lies and even more lies

    Monday: after waiting four hours - told that it would all be back to normal tomorrow

    Tuesday: Was told that you can no longer transfer between accounts using the internet - This is the new policy - Use Phone or go to a branch. Made a complaint - Somebody will get back to you.

    Wednesday: Yes, Yes you cannot transfer between accounts - Don't ask me it's what we have been told to tell you.

    Thank you Abbey - Try to charge us for being overdrawn in one account because you changed the rules -WITHOUT WARNING!!!

  19. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Guys, guys, it's only money


    What's the big deal?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Just Change Banks

    I was with Abbey, well Abbey National as it was, service got progressively worse, then they got taken over by Santander and they went down the pan.

    Changed banks, dead easy these days, I even got paid for doing so.

    Check out GreasyPalm for the best deal.

    You could even make me some money by using my referral code.

    I wouldn't recommend Alliance and Leicester despite the 100 quid they are offering as they are now owned by Santander as well.

  21. Mark Harby
    Thumb Down

    Getting Really Silly Now.

    Like everyone posting on this forum I'm getting tired of the mis-information.

    I spoke to the business banking help-line last night (Wed) at 21:30 and was told very positively that a reboot of the servers at midnight would solve all of the problems. Guess what, tried this morning and still cannot pay bills or transfer money.

    I am a small business and manage my bank accounts, supplier payments, STAFF WAGES etc on a just-in-time model, I need daily access to these accounts in order to function. This is really hurting my business at a time when we are all struggling to see where next years business is going to come from. I don't need this diversion Abbey !

    Can someone please try and get some information out of Abbey as to what is really happening.

  22. Ross

    Some tips and info for those caught up...

    Let them pay the phone bill while you're on hold. 0800 056 5151.

    Ring early in their working day - there was next to no holding delay for me at 0815 this morning.

    The helpful chap on the phone explained that "some" people have been experiencing what I have (multiple account listings and inability to transfer) and that they hope to fix it "this week" - in the meantime he arranged a transfer from my reserve to my current account so I can at least make payments.

  23. Robert Flatters

    Bad IT Practices

    Seems to me there was a failure of having any procedures so that if a problem was to occur then a fall back plan would be initiated. By the looks of things it was a really bad day for someone. And no doubt there will be a lot of lesson learned meeting going off. .......Like who's head shall we chop off.

  24. Nick Bond

    Too Simple?

    It is difficult to understand how organisations can still persist in using the “all-or-nothing” approach during upgrades/changes to their systems. Phased deployments, and the managed migration of users seems a more sensible approach?

    With virtualisation it is simple to spin up a number of VMs and run the two versions in parallel. Then using some traffic management software (you could try ours migrate their users from one to the other in a controlled way. If it all starts going horribly wrong, you reverse the process and put everyone back on the old system.

    Too simple?

  25. Bart

    The FULL scale of the problem with Abbey IT upgrade

    Following the upgrade, Abbey made impossible money transfers from Reserve Account to Current Account. To resolve the problem, they're quoting wrong (Personal banking) number, and on the Business number noone replies.

    Worse still, Abbey has deleted ALL our standing orders, including PAYE tax payments due this week.

    We were in the proces of moving out from Abbey anyway, after they raised THREEFOLD currency conversion charges 4 months ago (EUR to GBP was 0.8%, is now 2.75%), without notice of course, and not publishing them anywhere (hidden charge). I complained and got whitewash.

    We will sue Abbey for the difference in conversion charges (stlg150+ every month!), as soon as our account is moved.

    Do NOT bank with Abbey, unless you want to lose lots of time and money.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still down

    I read this article and tried to go in. It demanded that I enter a new password, which I did (they ask for a very hard-to-remember format of password). I then was asked to choose a 5 digit registration number. I entered "12345" and it refused it! I then rang, and after a 10 minute wait was told their system was knacked, and could I retry after 5pm.

    The old system seemed fine to me. What was the necessity to mess with it?

  27. Steve Jackson

    It's highly frustrating

    Yes, I'm adding my weight to the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Compared to other banking websites, the Abbey 'interface' was at times cumbersome, but it worked. A little like my Nationwide account, which was also 'upgraded' and they introduced that pointless 'Credit Card Calculator' to generate some authorisation code to transfer money out of Nationwide. Pointless, and not fun. Considered moving accounts, but figured the devil I knew was better. Seems this is coming home to roost with Abbey. Was also quite happy, but in recent weeks the whole of the world's banking systems seems to have hit meltdown, when everyone realised all the numbers on the balance sheets were vapour.

    FAIL - you ain't seen nuthin' yet............

  28. Ian Wilson
    Thumb Down

    Even more still down....

    Trying to modify my accountants' standing order due to Gordon Browns marvellously pointless and expensive VAT change, and I can't do it via the website (after the tortuous, misleading and downright wrong changes), and I can't get through on the phone after 20mins at 20:45?

    Idiots, idiots, idiots. I can see me switching accounts very soon.

    Helpfully they've got some information on their front page that says "some customers" are experiencing problems and they are fixing it. Great, I feel so much better.

  29. Matthew Brown

    For the love of god...

    How long has this been? I can't even get to the damned abbey business website let alone log in and find out what they've buggered up. And I actually do need in. D:

  30. John Staley

    One week Later

    I asked for help on Tuesday. Its Sunday now and I understand 2nd class letter (in Christmas post) will arrive either on Monday or Tuesday...... Apologies, they started sending 1st Class letters on Wednesday.

    The certificate error is known about but will not be fixed until Monday.

    Recommend that if you cannot get a valid cerificate to the site then think seriously about logging in with all your keystrokes onto potentially an impersonated site.

    Thinking about moving my two accounts away from Abbey.

    We expect some minor difficulties in a rollout but the evidence above shows lack of management at the highest levels.

  31. John Wright

    Abbey is clearing out the small business accounts it doesn't want

    I have had all the same problems as other here and am waiting for new login details by post.

    I have 2 business accounts with FREE banking.

    I suspect Abbey is making this a painful transition to encourage as many small businesses to move their unprofitable ( for Abbey) accounts elsewhere.

    Am I being paranoid?

  32. Steven Walker
    Thumb Down

    Abbey Business Banking ... Arhhh....

    Its now Sun 14th Dec and the system is still down, made more frustrating that you can log on succssfully only then to see the message saying system down. What is going, does anyone else have same problem....

  33. Mike Wilson
    IT Angle

    I thought it was just me

    I thought this was just me. Or at least, that's what I was told.

    Add me to the 0.001pc of affected users.

    (I've blogged about this issue, but for the sake of spamming I won't post a link here)

  34. John Wright

    Abbey IT help is nonsense

    With regard to Abbey's Technical Help page:

    It offers a link to download IE 6 - leads to IE 7 download:

    It offers a link to Firefox 2 - leads to Firefox 3 download.

    FF3 is an unsupported browser.

    What is all this nonsense?

  35. John Wood
    Thumb Down

    "Not lost transactions" - they have lost 2 of mine

    Same problems, an hour on the phone last Tuesday, 40 minutes today.

    I can't move money between accounts any more and it has lost some payments that I have made (for which I have the transaction numbers!).

    Not only that, they told me last week it would all be fixed, this week I am going over the same ground and they don't even have a record of it...

    I was thinking of moving my account anyway for the following reasons:

    1) A Standing Order to Cahoot (another Santander bank so within the same group) takes two days instead of the one day a Payment takes (try it!)

    2) Transfer more than a set amount to Cahoot (a low number of thousands) and the money takes much longer to arrive so that they keep the interest

    3) Letter to Customer Centre ignored, so letter to CEO, c/o Head Office ignored

    Certainly no way I am keeping it now!

  36. John Pemberton
    Thumb Down

    Abbey Business Account - what a joke

    For over a week the Abbey business banking (which is 100% online) has had faults, following a system upgrade. I have not been able to pay suppliers, and am on hold typically for 1-1.5 hrs each time i call. I am about to move to lloyds, and am more than happy to pay the £5 a month service charge. Abbey is you pay for what you get.


  37. scott

    Abbey business account - A Complete joke

    It was working yesterday and then i logged in this afternoon and got the no cards linked to the account error.

    Just spent 45 mins waiting for someone to answer who asked some questions before putting me on hold and then coming back on to say they had requested a new personal id and it would take 14 days to come through the post.

    I said this is not acceptable as i never requested a new id, i was told to call the business banking number in the morning as he was just helping out.

    when i asked who i complain to i was put on hold and then the line went dead.

    What a joke, as a new customer and this being my first time using the account i wont be hanging about long and will be moving to another bank

  38. John Wright

    Abbey are giving me the runaround

    So I got my new Passcode and Registration number today.

    And duly tried to log in . Totally failed.

    After ringing the Freephone number 0800 056 5151 and getting my Personal ID confirmed I can only conclude that Abbey are trying to combine my 2 business account together.

    So each time I log in I am entering the wrong details.

    I ring up only to have my passwords reset again- letter in the post - AGAIN.

    This is with me not realising this is perhaps resetting my other account.

    I am going crazy and going round in circles.

    I even suspect that my Norton Internet Security may be blocking access in some way to the Abbey Site.

    A few days a go Norton reported "An intrusion attempt by was blocked: Risk Name HTTP Acrobat PDF Suspicious File Download. Risk Level High: ( I didn't try to download a PDF).

    Is it just me? This was so easy before the upgrade.

    And why am I asked for my entire ID and entire Passcode and entire Registration number rather than say 3 random digits from the security details. I I get a keylogger infection surelt I loose the lot. In what way is this a security upgrade?

  39. Ben
    Thumb Down

    What a shambles

    It's reassuring that you bank, "update" their system and one of the steps is to ask for you for your: name, telephone and email. Errr.. shouldn't the system know this information!?

    I've not got the same current account listed three-time on my screen but I can't move money from the reserve account to the current account as it's not "linked." Pity I didn't have three-times the money in the account!

    What a shambles.

  40. paula

    we STILL can't make payments

    and what's more, neither can they on our behalf!!! We have wasted hours on this issue and now I'm not sleeping. I have 9 staff to pay and a VAT payment due. The staff have lied on the phone to us using one excuse after another. We've tried to make payments through the phone system but the staff say they're getting errors now on their systems... so today I faxed a list of urgent BACS payment needed but still this has not happened.

    How on earth can a BANK release software that is so unfit for purpose? I agree with a previous poster, as a Director of a small company, I need daily access (which is why I opened this account in the first place). It's crippling us and they have no idea...

    This is not the first problem we've had. International CHAPS payments have bounced around the globe and we have had undisclosed bank charges taken off us which they still haven't explained, 4 months on.

    We are moving to Lloyds TSB in January, good riddance Abbey.

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