back to article NatWest and RBS' mobile banking apps go TITSUP

RBS and NatWest customers have been left unable to access their accounts via the banks' mobile apps. In an identically-worded tweet both banks said this morning: "We're sorry if you're having trouble getting into Mobile Banking, we're working hard to resolve the issue. Thank you for your patience." NatWest and RBS are …

  1. s. pam Silver badge

    A great opportunity again to....

    FLEECE the mugs, ahem, us lot as taxpayers in a desperate bid for more taxes to bail out their fecked up IT department will be forthcoming on the Beeb news at 1800?

    Will they blame hackers for the outage, I'd say the odds favour it.

  2. sugerbear

    Another successful implementation

    Well the website is working just fine. Just another inconvenience really.

    Well tested that IT department, I am sure I saw something last week on the mobile about an upgrade happening this weekend :-) Surely the two things can't be connected can they..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another successful implementation

      Virtually all RBS datacentres have dual A\B feed power to the racks and anything running critical line of business stuff is mirrored to at least one secondary DC for failover purposes.

      That's the theory anyway. Unfortunately no-one ever kills the A feeds to see if the B feeds actually can keep the systems alive[1] and (sphincters trembling in Facilities at the mere thought) no-one ever kills a live DC to verify that the failover actually works. Unsurprisingly, that means when genuine failure conditions crop up the completely untested auxiliary systems frequently crash\burn.

      To be fair, it is a systemic problem in all the Banks I know enough about to comment on.

      Anon ...for obvious reasons

      [1] No you can't just model this based on specs. A model won't tell you that flipping the A feed breaker will cause a power spike that corrupts the HD in about half your 1U server chassis (that would be you HP).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another successful implementation

        Also anon for obvious reasons, but while I can't comment on RBS's internal policies (although I'd genuinely be surprised if they didn't instigate DR swings periodically), I can confirm that working for a supplier, we do DR swings every few months (basically we switch over for a few months, then switch back for a few, and repeat). As for power feeds, normally routine DC maintenance means that will get exercised at least once a year (power risers do need a bit to TLC from time to time). Yes, these are nervous times for anyone looking after service, but they are meticulously planned, implemented by a script with multiple go/no-go break points and rollback/contingency plans. That being said, you can't legislate for bugs and the unexpected - as this incident may prove.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another successful implementation

          Pints for both of you, to hear the war stories.

          Last bank I worked at did a fortnightly DR swing, exchanging Production and Pre-Prod environments.

          BUT: that was for core services. I wonder if the mobile banking fell into the Digital Agile Marketing teams remit and their Dev Ops guys had just too many pints to celebrate getting the upgrade code over the line?


  3. Ole Juul

    Limits of Nat

    Amazing they still haven't figured out what their core business is.

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Limits of Nat

      "Amazing they still haven't figured out what their core business is"

      Unfortunately, it's even more amazing that more of us haven't twigged what their core business is - making losses, skimming customers and offshoring their infrastructure support to the cheapest location possible, all to fund their lovely fat bonuses...

  4. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Once bitten

    I moved my account after Nat West's last failure to provide basic banking services due to an IT failure. Shame, they were a good bank until RBS took them over.

  5. Paul 98

    It's working fine for me on my Lumia 635

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      nailed it!

      Maybe the customers experiencing an outage had the wrong model phone?

  6. Sarah Balfour

    I'm with NW…

    …and all I can say is "Helpful bonking, my fucking arse!"

    I have been locked out of my online account for over a year, probably nearer two. I'm fucking useless at, well, anything. I've forgotten my access code, NW webchat tells me I have to call their online bonking bods. I tell them I can't do that because, well, no phone. So I'm told I've to go to the local branch - can't do that either; for reasons I don't wish to elaborate upon, I'm unable to leave the house.

    NW's response…? Equated to "Well you're fucked then, ain't ya…?!"

    Even if there WAS someone who could help me (there isn't), they couldn't, because that's against NW's security policy; I've been told time and again that "all business must be conducted by the registered account holder only", which has made me think - what if the account holder was unable to deal with their own affairs due to dementia…? What if some jobsworth was to say to someone's son/daughter "We'd need your mum/dad's consent to authorise that…", but the parent wasn't able to consent…? I remember my uncle ending up on the verge of a nervous breakdown dealing with my nan's bonk, couldn't get them to understand the simple phrase "I'm sorry, my mother is unable to do that because she has dementia". Even a fucking quack's letter didn't get him anywhere! Even emailed photos (any idiot could tell they were mother and son - except if that idiot is in bonking. My uncle looks EXACTLY like my nan). Think he forced the manager to visit my nan in the end.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for security, but there's security and then there's absolute arsery!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Sarah Balfour

      The problem of an account for a parent with dementia is becoming quite common; my sister was helping with accounts that my mother has. Before the dementia got too bad she managed to persuade mum to set up standing orders for utilities, but nothing else. Mum has never agreed for anyone else to have power of attorney (who ever trusts their kids to do things correctly). My sister does not want to go through court for this. Apart from that mum has lucid days, but then she is the most obstinate.

      Somebody suggested that Sis signed for my mum but, as any bank lawyer will tell you, that is forgery.

      1. Oldgroaner

        Slightly off topic but useful

        You need to set up Power of Attorney while you're compos mentis. Ideally everyone should do so. Unfortunately, in my experience the main problem then is that bank staff are not well trained to deal with PofA users.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @Sarah Balfour

        Perhaps the solution is a rather drastic one. Take the patient to the bank, introduce them to a customer service (sic) person, tell them you've an urgent appointment elsewhere but to give you a call once they've sorted out whatever it is. I think that PDQ they'd work out a procedure to enable them to accept you as the patient's representative.

  7. NotWorkAdmin

    Oh come on now

    The app was down for me this morning. I shrugged, gave it half an hour and tried again and it was back. In terms of just how much more difficult this made my life the dog vomiting on the sofa during the night far outshone this hiccup.

    1. Alistair

      Re: Oh come on now

      You need to get that dog home from the pub before it hits the 'vomiting in its sleep' phase.

  8. tony2heads

    RoBS and GnatPest

    bloody useless

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Monitise provide their Mobile platform

    It's just branded RBSG - RBS, Natwest, and Ulster.

    Check the news on Monitise - they are not in a good way, financially.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Monitise provide their Mobile platform

      They used to, RBS have now taken it in-house.

  10. chrismeggs

    Banks should do bank stuff. There are other providers of IT services, who incidentally do not offer financial services.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Banks should do bank stuff."

      These days bank stuff is IT, plus a casino bolted on the side.

    2. chrismeggs

      It's not just that banks shouldn't do IT. They shouldn't do half the application stuff either. There is no reason that a bank should follow basic accountancy, the keeping of several general ledgers that we call accounts. They shouldn't do the accountancy, they shouldn't hold the databases. They should offer banking as a service.

  11. Marc 25

    Email, Website, <insert name of online service here> goes offline for 0.04 seconds and some people's reactions are like we've been thrown back into the dark ages or their civil liberties are being ripped from them. I have a roof over my head and clean drinking water, which is more than can be said for the other 95% of the population of this planet. End users need some "life perspective" however we "sysadmins" know that sometimes sh*t breaks and we have to pick up the pieces so why is it a shock when this stuff happens?

    Dear L0rd!... mine's the one with the flowers in the pocket.

    1. david bates

      You're on your way to pick the kids up from school, you stop to fill up with petrol only to find that the bank is having a hiccup and you can't pay...and the garage doesn't really want you to leave without paying.

      Once up a time you could have whipped out your chequebook, but the garage probably does not even take cheques. Theres no branch round the corner that you could pop to because its now a trendy wine bar, and the cash machine wont let you have money either. This is the way the banks wanted it, so yes, when they screw up and you have no viable fallback then people have a RIGHT to kick off and expect the problem to be solved NOW.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You're on your way to pick the kids up from school...

        A mobile App site failed

        Not the website, cardpayment system or anything else.

        Some people with no life and only twatter, fakebook and their mobile phone for companionship were inconvenienced.

        The world didn't stop turning, planes never fell from the sky and it didn't rain fire and brimstone

        get over it and get a life

      2. BobRocket


        Most merchants have manual fallback vouchers that can be used with cards that have raised numbers to take payment, failing that (where a card is for 'Electronic use only') they can extend the credit for an agreed time period (typically 24hrs) which will give you time to source alternative payment method.

        Having a (temporary) liquidity crisis is not neccesarily a barrier to gaining goods although you may be required to navigate a different path (Shock/Horror).

      3. Vince

        Yeah if only you could hold accounts with multiple institutions and keep some cash in a wallet, maintain a balance with multiple current accounts and even hold now than one credit card.

        Oh wait...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only way to fix it is vote with your money

    Take it out and go elsewhere

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, there's people who actually still bank with RBS?

    I left after the great IT crash of 2012 revealed that they'd outsourced all their key functions to two clerical workers in a Mumbai call centre armed with a dial-in token and with a low-res scan of the instruction manual ...

  14. verloc

    Whah Whah Whah

    It's a great app and works really well. I use it a lot and really don't mind a wee cockup now and then. People need to remember how rubbish this banking malarkey was before technology and Internet have us unfettered 24/7 capabilities. So there that's what I think. Don't you all feel enlightened due to my opinion. ☺

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