How Simple Becomes Complicated.
Anon as ex employee.
UK customers of HSBC hoping to check their balances before heading to the pub for a Friday beverage or eight found themselves out of luck today. The bank admitted having problems with its mobile app in a tweet at 10:35, urging customers to head straight for online services, which are apparently in rude health. We’re aware …
I can log in OK, but then I get a system error when I try to do anything. Fortunately, I don't need to do anything. Bill payment day is next weekend. I know there is plenty of available credit on my Amex and Mastercard should I feel any desire to spend money on the first day of Black Friday that is actually a Friday.
There's a reason I signed up for another bank account and don't really use it... for precisely such instances where I can't get to money that I may need to. Monzo seem to be very good considering the account is virtually dormant. But guess who gets all my business when HSBC really affect something I need to do?
On the secure-key thing... I once had an interesting conversation. I'd lost the physical key calculator thing. I phoned up HSBC to get a new one. Oh, they said, you can just use your smartphone now. Cool, so I don't need the key thing any more? No... just sign up and get the smartphone app and it will generate codes for you. Okay... how do I sign up for that. Well, you just install the app and then put in a code from your SecureKey into it. The secure key I don't have? Oh, they said, you can order a new one from the website. Okay. How do I do that? "Just log in to the website". Okay, how do I log in? "With your usual details". Okay, what about when it asks me for the code? "Oh, then you just type in the number given on your security key calculator thingy". The one I haven't got? "Oh, you can order one on the website"
It literally took three people to resolve the logical fallacy at play. The solution was to post me a SecureKey, and a signup-code. And then I would use that PRECISELY ONCE to install the smartphone app.
And then they had the cheek to ask how I wanted it sent. Well, we can email or post you the code but the device will take 2 days to arrive. Okay... but... the code is useless without the key, right? Yes, but we can email you. What would be the point of that? Well, then you'd get the code faster. Yes but... I won't be able to use it until the key arrives anyway...
I sensed another infinite loop so I applied "goto: Just_send_me_the_damn_thing".
First Direct's mobile banking app doesn't work for me unless on Wifi - telling me I haven't got an internet connection when I blatantly have.
Have talked to customer services who have no idea why it's happening, and all they can suggest is reinstalling it - which entails sending out two security codes by mail under separate cover.
As for getting the all-important security code for internet banking, the spokesperson told us that "customers can opt to login with their memorable word and password". How delightfully retro.
Memorable word and password? Surely they mean memorable word and second factor security device? They got rid of the password yonks ago, didn't they? And then, IIRC, they suggested people get rid of the security device and use the app instead - but I'm still using the security device. (I guess I'll lose that option when the battery dies).
Was there a change between that I've blissfully ignored?
It has not been a great few months for HSBC. An outage at the end of September presented users with errors on their smartphones. Still, at least customers can pop into a local branch if needs be, right? Oh, wait. Never mind.
It's worse than that - I'm pretty sure I saw comments on their Twitter feed a week or two back (i.e. a bit more recently than the end of September) to the effect that there were problems with both online banking and the app.
Working backwards, then...
2018-11-23: The tweet in the article appears to be missing.
2018-11-18: Reported mobile problems at 4:53pm, saying they were fixed at 6:56pm.
2018-11-16: Reported mobile problems at 6:58pm, saying they were fixed at 11:34pm.
2018-11-06: Online problems reported at 11:10pm, and fixed by 12:34am.
2018-10-27: Online problems reported at 1:24pm, reported fixed at 5:14pm.
2018-10-16: Reported online problems at 11:25am, and that they were solved at 6:13pm.
2018-10-08: 9:49pm - mobile problems. Fixed as at 11:20pm.
2018-09-28: Mobile problems reported 8:30am, fixed by 12:05pm. I guess that one is the end of September one referred to. Glancing back further, the next one working backwards is this one:
2018-08-29: Online and mobile problems reported at 9:25pm, and said they were fixed at 9:38pm.
After that the next one I can see is all the way back on May 26th.
So over the last month and a half the problems look worryingly frequent.
... for giving myself and hundreds of long-service, experienced UK IT colleagues the opportunity to retire early with redundancy money and "final salary" pension scheme benefits. (Not to mention the opportunities some have taken up to undertake generously remunerated consultancy work for other banks around the globe). Sorry to hear that the inexperienced temporary contract and off-shore workers who replaced us are finding things difficult but glad to hear this has reduced the costs of running your (did someone say "business critical" ) IT systems.
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