Customers of major UK banks hit by pay day delays

The UK’s biggest banks have been hit by glitches affecting digital banking, leaving some customers unable to send and receive money on what is commonly pay day for workers across the country.

Nationwide, HSBC, Barclays and Virgin Money were among those apologising on Friday to customers over the issues.

HSBC UK said there had been a “separate payments issue affecting multiple banks”, and Nationwide blamed a “third-party payments issue” for the glitches.

Barclays also alerted customers to the issue, which has left some customers unable to send or receive payments.

Disgruntled customers took to X, formerly Twitter, to complain that they had not received their pay day wages into their bank accounts.

Some users said the delays meant they could not get to their money when they needed to pay bills.

A spokeswoman for Nationwide said the issue had “unfortunately delayed a small number of payments, which we expect will be processed and paid later today”.

It stressed that the “overwhelming majority of payments were processed as normal”, with all other services working fine.

HSBC posted on X that customers sending payments may experience a slow response or see a failure notice as a result of the industry-wide problems.

It urged people to check with the recipient or view their recent transactions notifications before attempting to send the payment again.

The bank also confirmed that its online banking and mobile app were back up and running after some customers were left locked out during the morning.

Barclays said it was aware of the issue and the team was “doing everything they can” to get the “faster payment system” back up and running.

The system powers online banking by enabling people to send money digitally, or via phone or in a branch, between banks and building societies who use it.

Payments up to a certain limit usually arrive within seconds, although it can take up to two hours to go through.

Pay.UK, with operates the system, said on Friday afternoon that the technical issue had been fixed and payments were returning to normal.

Virgin Money said that access to its banking app had been fully restored following issues in the morning.

A spokesman said: “We’re aware of issues with payments across the banking sector today, and some of our customers have experienced delays to payments both in and out of their Virgin Money account.

“New payments are now flowing normally, and we’re working through the backlog as quickly as possible to resolve delayed payments. We sincerely apologise to our customers for the inconvenience.”

Tech experts pointed out that the issues were likely to prompt hacking theories, following major incidents affecting the likes of Santander in recent months.

Dan Reavill, head of technology for UK law firm Travers Smith, said: “The fact that multiple banks have been affected will almost certainly lead to speculation that this is part of a co-ordinated and widespread attack.”

He said it could lead to suspicions that it involved criminals “operating on behalf of a hostile foreign state”.

He said: “Of course, it may well be the case that the outages have simply been caused by technical problems at one of the IT infrastructure providers which underpin much of the UK’s banking operations behind the scenes.”

He added: “Not for the first time, the UK’s retail banking industry is being reminded of its total reliance on IT systems and on its ability to provide online banking facilities.

“The fact that this has happened on month-end pay day will have undoubtedly caused a huge number of problems for customers who have grown completely reliant on their 24/7 access to their finances.”