back to article Post Office banking collapses in computer fail

Anyone hoping to access their Post Office bank accounts today is out of luck – a computer failure has blocked access at all 11,820 branches. Pin devices on counters are out of action, along with any other transactions using card accounts. A spokesman for the Post Office said: The Post Office today apologised to its customers …


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  1. Jason Rivers

    Single point of failure

    why not just turn over to the backup routes while fixing the problem :-)

    1. JohnG

      Systemic problem

      "why not just turn over to the backup routes while fixing the problem?"

      Because you will still be connected with the same centralised systems, which have all had the same dodgy update.

    2. Velv

      Single point of failure

      Why not go back to sweeping the floor since you clearly know very little about running such services.

  2. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Not sure how I feel...

    Sure, the security locked down on a failure which is good, but I cannot access Granny's birthday present to me to buy candy which is bad.

    Lets see what tomorrow will bring. I think I can survive a day on change found in the Futon.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm I wonder If this is related

    Good old Windows Server eh ?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Well done

      ...Linux 'tard can't tell the difference between Royal Mail and the Post Office Bank.

      Next, someone using a Windows pc to do online banking causes Greece's economic collapse?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Touchy Wintard ! (AC)

        PO counters/banking and the Royal Mail are part of the same group so they are most likely to have a unified IT procurement. Doh

        Yes the Greek crisis was caused by Wintards using their PC for on-line banking as the Romanians and Nigerians emptied their accounts using one of the millions of banking trojans out there.

        Not the first time the Greeks have be stitched up using a trojan horse, you would have thought that they would have learnt by now.

        1. Onid

          Greeks stitched up using a trojan horse??

          I think you'll find the greeks were doing the stitching against the trojans ...

          As for windows though - it's funny - Greece did sign up to a blanket microsoft agreement during the last government... Fail in my book as the IT universities are quite strong and have a very strong presence in open source they should be able to maintain and support full OSS setups but this is the least of their worries now... anyway looks like US is next with all their debt ceiling talks etc.. hehe..

        2. Michael Dunn

          Re:Not the first time the Greeks have be stitched up using a trojan horse

          Sorry, AC, it was the Greeks who made and used the Trojan horse to "bring to naught the mighty towers of Ilium."

        3. PeterM42

          Royal Mail Website

          If "The Post Office" and "Royal Mail" DO have the same I.T. then I understand the problem - the Royal Mail website is TOTAL CRAP, so presumably the rest is dubious to say the least.

  4. Neil <random number>
    Black Helicopters

    Bank of Ireland

    Surprised I haven't seen any mention anywhere of the bank of ireland link. Is it just the post office bit of the system that's down or the BOI bit ?

    The paranoid bit of me wonders about the post office system going down around the same time that RBS appears to have loaned the BOI 2.9 billion euros according to the Irish Independent

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I still have my Post Office Savings book from 1960-something. Wonder if it still works? It's got the 1971 entry when we changed to the new money, so should be all set...

    1. Kool-Aid drinker
      Thumb Up


      Mine dates back to that era too. I had the account made up after decimalisation at which point it contained the princely sum of 5p. I wonder if it has earned much interest during the intervening 40 years?

  6. Jay Jaffa

    Microsoft Again

    For quite some time now the GPO has been presenting and talking up its Windows-based technology platform.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      What millenium are you from?

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge


        Has it changed from being a general post office to something else?

        1. JohnG

          Has it changed from being a general post office to something else?

          Well, yes - it has changed. Parcel business is shared with several competitors and the letters business has been in decline for many years, with the increasing use of email and other forms of communication. The Post Office is as much a bank as it is a post office.

  7. Stephen Gray


    I used to support those tills back in the day, ran Win NT at the time as I recall.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    From information received

    Apparently there was a batch update carried out last night which scrambled the pin numbers

    (why so people insist on using the phrase PIN number (when the N in pin means number anyway)

    1. Michael Dunn

      Re: why so people insist on using the phrase PIN number

      Tautology rules!

      Meanwhile I'll have a beer.

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a computer problem which affected some transactions in its branches"

    "Some" including, of course, any transaction a customer might want to accomplish.

    Don't you just love PR-speech ?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ah! A quick riposte to the senior management ICL Pathway.

    Thank god the senior management forgot to ask me to fill in a Non Disclosure Form, not that I'm saying they were incompetent for that, otherwise I wouldn't be able to complement them so much.

    ** Joking aside, I thought all the devs/testers etc were diamonds, and there were a few middle management, perhaps between 21 and 23 that were good, but there were some more senior guys whom I thought useless. But what do I know? They made absolute fortunes, some of them, so they must have been talented.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this another "common language" issue

    Is this another "common language" issue - as in, "two nations separated by a common language"?

    In the US, the Post Office (note: definite article) is the place one goes to mail a letter - an institution of the United States Federal Government. I would shudder to have a bank account with them!

    Reading other comments herein would lead me to believe what the UK calls "the Post Office" is distinct from the entity responsible for moving mail around - am I correct?

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Post office names

      Back when my Dad was a Head Postmaster in the 1950s, there was a government organisation called "The General Post Office". It was a blanket organisation for

      * Royal Mail (who delivered Letters and Parcels)

      * Post Office Telephones (landline phone provider

      * The marine radio stations (Portishead, North Foreland etc.)

      * Martlesham research station

      * The railway telephone branch (not the same as Beritish Railway signalling division)

      * Post Office Telegram services

      * National Savings

      * Post Office savings bank (both deposit schemes, not money transfer systems)

      * Post offices were the retail outlet for mail, for the payment of social benefits like child benefit & the old age pension and the handling of driving licences and car taxes. You could pay your income tax there and buy national insurance "stamps".

      Later the government invented the Giro bank, a publically owned clearing bank which used post office counters for public access.

      Nowadays we have

      * Post Office counters Ltd - the retail operation, including foreign currency, the two saving schemes, and a sort of bank. They still do car tax and driving licences, and pay pensions to people with magnetic cards and no bank account.

      * Royal Mail, who deliver letters

      * Royal Mail parcels, who deliver broken things in crushed boxes

      and that's about it. All the other stuff has been sold off, and they want to sell off those 3 too.

      1. Michael Dunn

        @Mr Harvey

        You wrote: " * Royal Mail, who deliver letters" but didn't qualify this statement!

        Also, back in your esteemed parent's day, there was a cabinet minister responsible for running the GPO - the Postmaster General. One remembers with affection Dr Hill.

        Yes, I've still got my ration book in the pocket.

        1. Robert E A Harvey

          @ Michael Dunn

          > wrote: " * Royal Mail, who deliver letters" but didn't qualify this

          You mean

          * Royal Mail, who deliver letters sometime the following month. Occsionally. To a nearby address. Unless it's raining, when you never hear from them at all. Oh look, a christmas card from 1997.

          will that do?

  12. Norn Iron

    Post Office turns away benefit queues

    What about the thousands of benefit claimants who have just been transferred, many against their wishes, to two weekly benefits allocation whose children have been hungry for the past week/

    The disappointed mothers will have returned home today without money or food for the children.

    What about the men who went to collect their two weeks dole and now their bartender wont give them credit?

    1. Robert E A Harvey


      There was a hand-written poster in our local branch saying that benefit "mothers" could claim emergency relief from the local social services office.

      And another one saying "When they don't answer the phone come to us" from a group of local churches...

  13. Buzzby

    1 Mistake

    Mr Harvey in the 50's-60's the Post Office research station was at dollis hill London. In the 70's I considered transfering to martlesham which had not long opened.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      My word yes

      I'd forgotten Dollis Hill.

      Was it not from there that the men who built the machines at Blethley Park came?

      1. Steve X
        Thumb Up

        Bletchley Park

        Yes, that was Tommy Flowers, unappreciated (unknown) for far too long. RIP.

  14. Tom Kelsall
    Thumb Down

    Royal Mail Lies, Conspiracy etc

    "All 11,820 branches remained open throughout the crisis"

    Call that 11,819. Ours was shut all day because of this.

  15. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Technolgy... wonderful.

    Prevents you access to funds when you need to purchase food, fuel, whatever.

    Deletes your email and all online data when you're not looking.

    Oh, we're talking about Simon here...

    I'll leave quietly.

  16. Bob. Hitchen

    It could not have been total

    Mine worked normally at 1430 on 27Jul.

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