Hundreds of thousands of people who could have missed out on their wages after 275,000 payments were delayed following a HSBC technical glitch on what was the last payday of the month, and just hours before the long bank holiday weekend begins, should now have been paid the bank says.
HSBC says these payments were processed the same evening they should have gone through (Friday 28 August 2015). Please let us know via our forum if you've yet to receive your cash.
Here's our Q&A on what's happened and what you can do about it.
Q. What's happened?
A. About 275,000 payments due to be made from HSBC business accounts on Friday 28 August 2015, such as wages, were delayed. This includes payments to customers of other banks.
HSBC says the majority of payments were completed over the course of the early evening of Friday 28 August 2015, with any remaining payments completed that night.
We saw reports from some of our users on Friday night saying missing cash had been paid.
Payments being sent from First Direct and M&S Bank accounts, which are part of the HSBC group, were not affected, although these customers may still have been hit by problems receiving payments from HSBC accounts.
HSBC says the issue occurred due to a fault in the information used to process some payments.
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We asked our Twitter followers on Friday morning (28 August 2015) if they were affected by the problem. Here are some of the many responses we got:
Q. How do I know if I'm affected?
A. The best way to check if you are affected is to log in to your account to see if any expected payments are missing or were paid in late, or if any payments due to be sent have not left your account or went out late.
Q. My payments were sent/received late or are still missing/haven't been sent. What should I do?
A. If you've been left unable to pay bills or make a mortgage or rent payment, for example, contact the person or company involved immediately to let them know why there's been a delay, especially to ask not to apply any possible charges.
If your payments haven't been sent, contact the recipient to let them know why there's been a delay. In both scenarios keep records as explained below.
Q. If HSBC paid me late on Friday night, does it mean mortgage/rent/credit card/utility payments would have gone through?
A. If you didn't have enough money in your account for bills or payments to be taken on Friday (28 August 2015), it's unlikely your provider will have tried to take this money again.
Based on research we conducted a year ago, providers stop trying to take payments after 4pm on the day they're due. However this information may have changed since then, so contact the person or company owed, and if the money hasn't been paid, manually transfer it.
Q. Can I get a refund of any fees or costs incurred?
A. HSBC says it is "committed to ensuring that no one loses out" and that it will work with its customers and other banks to do this.
So keep records such as bank statements, receipts, screenshots and photos, of any additional fees you may have been charged because of the outage, and contact your bank to get a refund. Fees you could have been charged include:
- Fees for dipping into your overdraft.
- Costs for racking up lengthy phone calls to discuss the problem with HSBC.
- Fees from third parties if they've not received a payment from you on time.
- Late mortgage, credit card and loan fees and interest.
- Late fees on phone, broadband, TV or utility bills.
- Cash-advance fees and interest on credit cards if you have to take out emergency money on plastic.
- Missing savings or current account interest if money paid in was delayed arriving.
- Missing savings interest if you have to withdraw cash because charges aren't paid.
People have been refunded charges and fees when similar outages in the past have occurred. The RBS Group promised customers wouldn't be left out of pocket after approximately 600,000 incoming and outgoing transactions were delayed over a three day period this June. See the NatWest/RBS glitch MSE news story for more on this.
Q. Will I get any compensation on top of a refund?
HSBC says it will provide compensation "where appropriate" and that these claims will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, however it says people should contact their own banks in the first instance.
Q. If I don't have any cash due to the glitch, what can I do?
A. If you urgently need the money and it's still missing, contact your bank straight away by phoning or by going in branch.
Q. I'm worried this is going to affect my credit file; will it?
A. HSBC says it's yet to formally set out a policy as to how it will resolve any blemishes to people's credit files. It just reiterates that customers will not lose out.
Following RBS' outage earlier this year, it took proactive action to ensure no 'black marks' were added to people's credit file.
If you notice incorrect information on your credit file, contact the provider responsible and ask for it to be removed explaining it's as a result of HSBC's outage.
Q. How do I contact HSBC?
A. Existing customers can contact HSBC by calling: 03457 404 404. Non-HSBC customers can contact it by calling: 03456 040 626. However, HSBC says non-customers should contact their own bank in the first instance.
Q. What does HSBC say?
A. A HSBC spokesman said on Friday night (28 August 2015): "HSBC apologises for the significant inconvenience caused to customers by today's payments problems.
"We are now processing the payments so that they reach the beneficiary accounts as quickly as possible. The majority of payments will be completed over the course of the afternoon and early evening, with any remaining payments completed overnight.
"We are committed to ensuring that no one loses out as a result of today's unacceptable problems. We will work with our customers and the other banks including providing compensation where appropriate.
"Customers who do not receive the delayed payment by Saturday morning should speak with their bank in the first instance. They should also contact their bank if they have suffered any costs as a result of today's problems."
Q. I'm fed up with my bank. What can I do?
A. If you're unhappy, you should complain to your bank. You can use our free online complaints tool Resolver* to help with the process. If this doesn't work, or you don't get a response within eight weeks, you should take your case to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.
Alternatively, vote with your feet and switch bank. See our Best Bank Accounts guide to find out how to get deals.
'There is a lot to put right'
Andrew Tyrie MP, chairman of the Treasury Committee, commented on Friday (28 August 2015): "This appears to be yet another serious IT failure by one of the major clearing banks. It is increasingly clear that most, if not all, of these banks' IT payments systems need a good deal of investment, and there is a lot to put right.
"The banks, collectively, now need to make sure that customers are not put at a disadvantage by this, or subsequent IT failures, not least from unexpected overdraft charges.
"I will be writing to the Chief Executive of HSBC, to obtain an assurance that no customers will lose out from these failures and to ask what is going to be done to prevent a repetition."