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Last Updated: Monday, 3 January, 2005, 18:31 GMT
System glitch hits HSBC customers
Shopper using Switch card
Bargain hunters may have been hit by HSBC's problems
HSBC customers faced chaos in the UK on the New Year public holiday as the bank suffered a major breakdown in services.

A computer glitch meant customers were unable to get money from cash machines or use credit cards and Switch cards.

People were also unable to access their personal accounts on the bank's internet service.

A spokeswoman for HSBC said the glitch was the most serious the bank had experienced in its history, but most problems had now been resolved.

She added that HSBC did not believe the fault was the result of an outside attack, but it was investigating its cause.

Spending headache

The bank said it was confident there would not be a security risk to people's accounts as a result of the problems, which were purely a technical mishap.

It was unclear how many customers had been affected by the breakdown, as not all cash dispensers or card payment outlets had been affected.

However, the banking giant did add that any customers still experiencing problems should call 08457 404 404.

The problem could cause a major headache for many people heading to the January sales as they make the most of the last day of the festive holidays.

News of the problem comes just days after spending on credit and debit cards overtook that of cash, according to the Association for Payment Clearing Services (Apacs).

Have you had difficulties using your HSBC cards? Tell us, using the form below.

Just been to Tesco for groceries, and my HSBC Switch card was refused. Luckily I'd got my purse with me, because most times I only take my card with me. I got home and tried to check my account online and got the try again later, so I phoned the internet banking number and heard from a rather tired-sounding woman that their entire system was down. It doesn't just affect shoppers; it's a bit grim for the call-centre workers having to field the calls on a day that they probably expected would be quiet.
Catherine, Haverfordwest

I couldn't pay for my weekly shop at Sainsbury's. It was extremely embarrassing and I had to withdraw cash with my wife's credit card to pay.
D Alex Stein, London

Unable to access internet to pay a visa bill - if I can't do so before cob tomorrow I will pay interest!
S E Aldous, Skipton, UK

Have tried to pay a bill online and it has repeatedly come back declined. Tried to access my HSBC internet banking and that too is inaccessible! Hope they sort it soon! I have a bill to pay!!
Matt Morris, Bristol, UK

No problems for me. But then HSBC has always given me a faultless service; they really are the best of the banks.
Tony, UK

Went into my local CO-OP to pay for goods with my Solo Debit Card and could not get any cash back either. It was really embarrassing as a really long queue started to develop behind me. So I tried at my local HSBC cash machine and it said that I had reached my withdrawal limit for the day. I was worried that someone had got into my account. I was glad when I read the above article and comments and realised that it wasn't just me it was happening to!
Gareth Smart, Winscombe, North Somerset, UK

It's standard practice for frequent international travellers to carry several cards with them in case of system problems, loss, trader-refusal, etc. It now looks as though everyone needs to do so whenever they go out.
Vince Robbins, Birmingham, UK

Went to go and tax my car, and my card was refused - all my accounts with enough money in are by HSBC. As it's illegal to drive my car, I will now have to walk the mile to the post office to tax it. Dear me.
Sam Bovrilton, Solihull, UK

Why moan? Computers are not faultless - the sooner we accept this the better. It just shows how reliant we have become on them. "Plastic" spending recently overtook "cash" spending as the most popular method of payment. Perhaps we should be taking something from this occurence - it's not just debt but the risks we take with reliance on correct procedures by banks or the risk of human error. Should we be paying by cash or cheque - at least it's a "staple" format which can rarely fail.
ED, Pembrokeshire

I've used my HSBC switch card several times today, including Tesco's shopping and online banking. So far no problems...
Richard, St Neots. Cambs

At 18.00 hrs my internet banking still does not work and the call centre has no idea when the problem will be fixed. Doesn't say much for the HSBC spokesperson who stated the problem had been fixed
David M, UK

I had no problelm using my switch card in retail outlets but I couldn't pay a cheque in at one of HSBC's machines or access my account online.
Stephanie Hope McDevitt, London W14

Thanks for the BBC info which I got through Google. I was really panicking because the phone lines were dead and the online banking site was down. Presumably this is why there is no news on their website either.
Chris, Bucks

Tried to transfer funds within my business to pay suppliers - accounts unaccessible due to HSBC breakdown. It's a very worrying development especially if it's a security breach .
Grahame Bennett, England

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