If you run accident prone Royal Bank of Scotland, the golden rule ought to be never boast.

Some 24 hours after chief executive Ross McEwan extolled the virtue of the bank’s mobile app, arguing that his busiest branch in 2014 is the 7.01am from Reading to Paddington when 167,000 passengers clicked on, the system went down.
RBS with its 2.7million or so mobile app users was not alone. By unhappy coincidence up to 3million Barclays customers also were caught up in the snafu.

In itself none of this was a particular tragedy since, as the banks point out it, was still possible to bank online or – an even more novel suggestion – actually call into a branch or use one of the smarter ATMs.  The love affair of the banks with technology is admirable and we can all be grateful that laborious processes such as writing out paying-in slips have been simplified.

Yet the very organisations that talk so fervently about serving customers, and in the case of Antony Jenkins of Barclays being the ‘go to’ bank, seem intent on depriving customers of the human touch.
Banks are heavily exposed to risks of cyber-crime. Almost all the High Street lenders have suffered some form of cyber-attack but are reluctant to talk about it for fear of frightening the horses.  The reality is that some of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, such as Israel, regard abanking comes under attack as ttacks on their IT systems as among the biggest threats to economic and national security.

If Barclays’ IT whizzes can devise their own banking apps, one imagines there are far cleverer writers of code who will know how to penetrate them.

Those on the Paddington express might then think twice about using banking apps so liberally. One does not have to be a Luddite to think that closing branches is totally undesirable in a nation that already has less outlets than most competitors.
Broken apps, frozen ATMs, debit cards that fail to work and systems that meltdown make it imperative that branch banking is not denuded any further.

Alex Brummer: This Is Money
Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-2570486/ALEX-BRUMMER-RBS-Barclays-leave-customers-without-service-mobile-apps-crash-day.html#ixzz2v0vSCTdI

  • apps