Under-fire lender TSB handed out around 1,500 free Android smartphones to business banking customers – ones which were rendered almost useless amid the lender’s calamitous IT upgrade.
Firms were offered free phones to replace card readers as part of TSB’s planned lift-out from legacy Lloyds Bank systems.
TSB wrote to businesses informing them card readers – which allowed staff to access bank accounts and process payments on TSB’s old system – would no longer work. With companies instructed to use the lender’s mobile app instead, TSB offered handsets free of charge to those businesses with mobile phones which could not support the app.
Despite a slew of customers being unable to access online banking at the peak of the problems, company sources said the mobile app is currently working in the majority of cases. However, social media posts suggest many of TSB’s retail and business customers remain unable to make payments or access accounts almost a month after the lender’s IT overhaul.
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With the IT meltdown entering its fifth week, analysts have estimated the fiasco will cost TSB £16m in regulatory fines after around 2m people were locked out of their accounts. This is in addition to an estimated £18m in waived overdraft fees. Hiring IT consultants to fix the botched upgrade is likely to cost TSB millions more.
A spokesperson for TSB said:
The phones were available to business customers with online banking.
Over the weekend of 21/22 April 2018, we moved more than 1.3 billion customer records across to the new platform and while we did this we had to temporarily turn a few things off.
Our mobile authenticator app is available, if customers are having difficulty making payments using Business Internet Banking and our Business Banking Authentication app, they should get in touch with us.
Read more: TSB mortgage accounts and some payments still not functioning
While the decision to force businesses to bank using an online app may have frustrated some firms, research released last weekend indicated the general public’s preference for banking on the move.
Apps will overtake computers as the main platform to access online services as early as next year, industry analyst CACI said.
Some 35m people in the UK – almost three-quarters of the adult population – will use mobile banking apps by 2023, the research indicated.
“With so much more functionality, mobile is rapidly becoming the digital channel of choice, and replacing traditional online banking for many customers,” said report author Jamie Morawiec.
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