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Westpac suffers online banking outage with customers shut out of accounts

<span>Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters

Westpac’s online banking system has suffered a major crash, with customers cut off from their accounts and payment systems for about eight hours.

Social media was awash with people complaining about not being able to access their accounts, pay bills or make contactless payments on their phones as the apparent system crash hit some time after 8pm on Monday evening.

The company announced shortly after 5am on Tuesday that the problem was resolved.

During the outage, some customers said they had to abandon their shopping in supermarkets when their cards would not work at the tills, while others reported not being able to pay for meals ordered at restaurants.

There was also widespread concern because the details of customer accounts disappeared from apps completely. Some were told it “looks like you don’t have any cards”.

Westpac said at 9.19pm that it was aware of a problem but did not give any details. It said on X that its teams were “working to fix the issue”.

“We’re aware that customers are currently experiencing issues accessing account information in online and mobile banking. Our teams are working to fix the issue. We apologise for any inconvenience and will continue to share updates here.”

Close to midnight Westpac said that mobile and online banking services remained “unavailable following a routine technology update earlier this evening”. The bank said it was working to restore the system.

At 5.15am on Tuesday the company announced that “our mobile and online banking services are now restored and running as usual”.

“We want to apologise to all our customers who were impacted by the issue overnight,” the statement said. “We recognise this took too long to resolve and we thank customers for their patience.”

Social media users immediately asked if the company would provide compensation to customers.

According to outage website DownDetector, more than 10,000 people reported problems accessing their accounts on Monday.

Some customers complained that Westpac had not informed them quickly enough and that, when the bank did, it was by social media rather than on the bank’s website.

The incident will draw comparisons with recent outages suffered by other consumer-facing Australian businesses, most notably the recent system crash at Optus.

The 14-hour outage suffered by the telco’s customers last month – blamed on a problem during a routine system upgrade – cost chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin her job. But memories were still fresh of last year’s cybersecurity failure at the company which saw the data of millions of customers compromised with Optus widely panned for its handling of the incident.