This past Saturday I headed to a Standard Bank ATM to withdraw some cash. As I was busy with the withdrawal, the machine didn’t dispense the cash –  it did throw my card back at me and sent me an SMS saying that the cash had been withdrawn.

After about five minutes, I panicked thinking the machine had been rigged by scammers wanting to take the money.

But it turns out that Standard Bank has been experiencing technical issues around the country over the last three days affecting ATMs, internet and cell phone banking and its banking app.

Frustrated users have been calling and tweeting the @StandardBankGrp account since yesterday wanting to know what was happening. Most of the complaints were about the bank’s app and internet banking. One user said they even had to travel as far as 80 kilometres to pay for their monthly accounts [Although Twitter is prone to exaggeration – Ed].

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The problem with such issues occurring at the end of the month is that debit orders bounce and payments that need to be made on or before the first day of the month go unpaid, meaning people will now have to pay penalities on top of the amounts they already owe.

“We would like to reassure our customers that their overall experience with Standard Bank and the services we offer remains our top priority and we regret any inconvenience caused,” says Funeka Montjane, Standard Bank’s chief executive: personal and business banking, South Africa. 

“These services were restored within two hours following prompt action by Standard Bank’s internal technical team. We are investigating the root cause of the system failure. Our initial investigation has determined that the incident was cause by hardware failure.”

However, users report that they are still experiencing problems with the system. I was at a Balfour Park ATM about an hour ago and the statement machines were completely offline.

Standard Bank says it has noted that not all systems are back in working order and that the bank is working on it.

[Image – Tyger Valley]