‘I left Smile Bank at the moment as a result of ongoing outage’

Smile Bank customer Emma Hopkinson-Spark Image copyright Emma Hopkinson-Spark
Image caption Smile Bank buyer Emma Hopkinson-Spark left the financial institution on Friday as a result of ongoing probelms

Smile Bank prospects have been unable to entry their on-line banking accounts for 5 days in a row.

The online-only financial institution, owned by Co-Operative Bank, stated it was working urgently to resolve the issue.

But the most recent service outage proved to be the “last straw” for longtime buyer Emma Hopkinson-Spark.

After 16 years, she left Smile Bank on Friday after she was unable to view an important re-mortgage fee.

“I’m really disappointed in Smile Bank,” Ms Hopkinson-Spark, chief of employees at a tech consultancy enterprise in Weston-super-Mare, informed the BBC. “The outages this week were the tipping point.”

Ms Hopkinson-Spark stated she had not been capable of entry her on-line banking account for a number of days. Although she will nonetheless withdraw cash from money machines and pay for objects utilizing her debit card, she can not ship funds or view her funds.

“Yesterday my husband rang me in a flap saying he was trying to pay for groceries and didn’t have money in his account,” she stated. “He needed me to transfer money to his account and I couldn’t.”

Her frustration got here to a head when her mortgage agency stated that they had despatched a fee of almost £100,000 to her present account, however she couldn’t see it there or do something with the funds.

She determined to shut her present account, money ISA and financial savings account with the financial institution and is transferring her funds to a unique financial institution.

Smile Bank, which has round 100,000 prospects, has apologised for issues with its on-line banking and cellular app, but it surely was unable to offer the BBC with a purpose for the outage, or say when the issue can be fastened.

Image copyright Smile Bank
Image caption Customers have complained that Smile Bank is just not speaking with them concerning the outages

“We’re sorry that our Smile customers have been unable to use our mobile app and online banking as they would usually in recent days,” the corporate stated in an announcement.

“We are working hard to restore their access as soon as possible and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

“Customers can use their playing cards and make transactions as regular and in the event that they want assist with their account they will name our customer support staff.”

‘We’re getting really panicked’

Vicky Wevell, a self-employed editor in Nailsea, near Bristol who has been with the bank for 20 years, said Smile Bank’s mobile app had gone downhill in recent years, with outages for hours at a time.

Like other Smile Bank customers who spoke to the BBC, she said a lack of communication during the recent issues had made her worried about the safety of her funds.

“I’m actually indignant really and have been getting progressively angrier this week,” she said. “It’s much less to do with the outage and extra to do with their communication.”

She said she was also on the verge of switching banks, because she could not see which invoices for work done had been paid by her clients.

“How are we alleged to do any enterprise?” she said. “[We’re] getting actually panicked, is our cash safe?”

Making enquiries

Jackie Smart, an office administrator in Aylesbury, said it took days for the bank to put a notice up about the outage on its website and communication remains difficult.

Image copyright Getty Images

“I’m feeling pissed off and fearful as a result of I do not know what’s occurring. You can get by on the automated service to listen to your steadiness while you ring by, but it surely’s really ready to talk to any individual that takes a very long time,” she stated.

Set up in 1999, Smile Bank was one of many earliest online-only banks. Its father or mother firm, Co-Operative Bank, is owned by quite a lot of hedge funds, which final yr have been reportedly exploring a sale of the enterprise.

The BBC understands that the outage is brought on by a difficulty that’s solely affecting Smile Bank’s platforms, however not different manufacturers owned by Co-Operative Bank.

Smile Bank prospects have been suggested to name the financial institution in the event that they require help with their accounts on 03457 212212 throughout opening instances, that are: Monday-Friday 08:00-18:00 BST, and on weekends between 09:00-17:00 BST.

As name ready instances could fluctuate, the financial institution informed the BBC that prospects also can to contact Smile Bank’s Twitter and Facebook accounts to make queries.