The status monitoring service Downdetector began picking up on high numbers of reports of problems with Royal Bank of Scotland’s and Natwest’s online banking systems from about 10am.
At 11am the official NatWest customer service Twitter account, @NatWest_Help, wrote: “Our website is currently unavailable. We’re working hard getting it back up and running for you.”
An hour later, it reiterated: “Our website is still unavailable and we’re working hard to fix it.”
The account indicated that online banking through its mobile app was available.
The outage follows a report by BBC.co.uk last week that Barclays had topped the list of banks with the most outages in the past year, at 33 incidents in the 12 months to end of June. Natwest was named second for the year at 25 incidents, Lloyds Bank was third at 23 and RBS came in fourth with 22 outages.
Natwest/RBS had the dubious honour of jointly topping the league for the three months to end-June, with seven incidents each during the quarter. Second worst was HSBC with five incidents and in joint third place, Barclays and Santander each suffered four outages.
The Financial Conduct Authority has required banks to publish their number of major operational and security incidents since 2018.
Such downtime can result in missed payments that negatively impact a customer’s credit score.
Around 27 per cent of customers who hear of bank system outages subsequently check their credit report for potential mistakes. And of these, 64 per cent have found errors that could impact creditworthiness.
The findings result from research by Censuswide on behalf of the credit checking agency ClearScore, in March 2019.
“When banks suffer IT meltdowns consumers are hit by the immediate inconvenience and there can be lasting damage if payments are missed,” said Justin Basini, co-founder and chief executive of ClearScore.
“It can take several weeks for a missed payment to show up on a credit report. Many people discover they’ve been a victim only when they are turned down for a financial product such as a mortgage.
“I urge customers to check their credit report when they hear about a major outage at their bank. That way they can clear their name if any payments were missed that would affect their credit score,” Basini said.