Lloyds and Halifax were hit with mobile banking outages late last week

Lloyds Banks and Halifax's mobile banking apps were hit with outages late last week, locking users out of their accounts, per Metro. Customers received error messages when attempting to log into their accounts. The outages impacted 1,200 Halifax customers and 800 Lloyds customers, who received error messages when attempting to log in to their accounts - and many of whom took to Twitter to express their outrage.

uk online banking adoption is outpacing uS

Despite the small scale of these outages, they could disproportionately affect customer satisfaction because they happened during a time of heightened need for digital banking access:

  • A potential drop in branch visits due to the coronavirus could lead to a higher dependency on digital channels. The pandemic could reduce branch visits by forcing banks to temporarily close locations or reduce their hours - as in Hong Kong - or customers might not feel comfortable coming into branches amid concerns over the virus's spread. But there could be a spike in usage of digital banking channels and call centers globally as customers will still need to access to fund transfers, make deposits, and check their balances. The net effect could result in those channels becoming the primary channel for banking for a large portion of customers for the foreseeable future, and not just in the UK, but globally.
  • In fact, even setting aside the coronavirus, UK consumers are already largely dependent on digital banking channels. Seventy-two percent of UK consumers are doing the majority of their banking online, according to a Marqeta study. An outage during critical times could stand out to those customers and potentially influence them to switch providers, making communication and increased transparency of the utmost importance.
  • While this could be an opportunity for discovering new features, banks have to make sure they can handle a spike in volume. And for people who might be new digital users, it's important for banks to simplify their experiences for those first-time users by offering educational materials to instruct customers on how to make the most of nonbranch channels to manage their funds. Further, banks need to be prepared to accommodate a higher volume of digital users though online or phone channels. But those who can't handle an uptick in volume, or have an outage during this time, could risk facing major backlash.

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