ING internet banking error: “We can’t get used to it anymore”

ING internet banking error: “We can’t get used to it anymore”

Check your balance online or transfer money: This was not possible for nearly 9 million ING customers all day yesterday. This was due to an online failure at the bank that lasted more than 15 hours, causing much frustration among users and forcing the CEO to apologize. What happened? Five questions and answers.

How often does this happen?

First of all: Online outages at banks happen regularly. But where they usually lasted no more than a few hours, this interruption was more extensive. All customers were affected for 15 hours. Allestoringen.nl received more than 500,000 complaints. For comparison: The biggest ING bug in the last five years received 80,000 reports.

CEO Steven van Rijswijk said he can’t remember a bigger outage at ING than Wednesday. He describes the situation as very frustrating. “We are a bank that takes pride in its digital services, so we are very pleased with it.”

University of Twente Professor of Software Reliability Marieke Huisman says there’s a reason banks profile themselves as online companies. “Banks used to provide financial services, today they are mostly software-heavy companies. These systems were never designed with the thought that they would be this important.”

What happened?

According to the bank, something went wrong with the communication between the application’s servers and the website’s servers. It is not yet clear how this could happen. ING says all hands on deck: 200 IT workers were immediately sent to work to fix the problem. When this job did not work in the evening, they had to be relieved by 200 people.

Huisman gets to the heart of the matter. According to you, ING is definitely looking into software development and attaches great importance to it. “But nowadays software needs to be ready quickly. Also, all software sometimes contains very subtle bugs. Then it is very difficult to understand what went wrong.”

What are the consequences for the bank?

According to the Dutch Payments Association, there is no legal usability standard for online banking, but there is one for debit cards and iDEAL. “There is an agreement that an interruption in internet banking or mobile banking will be resolved within two hours. Above all, it’s a best effort commitment,” says a spokesperson.

ING says it “want to be up and running 99 percent online.” However, due to this malfunction, the company will not be able to make it this month, according to Van Rijswijk. According to him, it is difficult to determine what kind of financial loss the bank suffered as a result of the malfunction. “First of all, it’s a loss of reputation, customers are not satisfied. That’s hard to calculate.”

How many customers were scammed?

Webshop branch organization Thuiswinkel.org says it has not received any significant complaints from members. ING also believes the damage will be limited as in-store debit cards and direct debits can continue as usual.

According to Payments Netherlands, the main cause of customer inconvenience is the habit of going online fast and a lot. “We are all used to being able to pay quickly and directly 24 hours a day. If your bank doesn’t do this for a few hours, the world is too small. You can tell from the amount of payment.”

The narrator points out that things usually go well. “It also gets used to,” he says. “Thanks to mobile banking applications on smartphones, we check our accounts very often. ING even has a concept for this: boredom banking. Look at the banking app for a few free minutes. If that doesn’t work, it still causes discomfort.”

As a customer, can you get a refund?

ING says we will investigate if people have been directly harmed. “But I don’t know if people yesterday allowed ongoing payments right now.”

Online customers ask the same question: Will we get compensation? Reference is made to the general terms and conditions stating that the bank will not pay any compensation in case of any disruption.

Source: NOS

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