Santander outage: How to claim compensation for major app, bank account and card issues

THOUSANDS of Santander customers were stranded without access to mobile, internet, app and telephone banking services on Saturday.

A “technical problem” meant there were widespread issues reported across the banking giant’s services.

Some customers even had their payments rejected in supermarkets when they went to pay at the till – and left stores empty handed.

Santander said it will be publishing details about how affected customers can claim compensation on its website "as soon as possible".

Here’s what we know so far about how to apply for reimbursement, and what your rights are:

Am I eligible for compensation?

It is thought that hundreds of thousands of Brits were affected by the outage this weekend.

But Santander has said no customer will be left “out of pocket” due to the disruption over the weekend.

So if you incurred costs as a result of the service issues, you're likely to get your money back.

For example, if a bill payment didn’t go through as a result of the outage and you’ve been charged a fee for missing it, you should be able to claim that money back.

Santander hasn’t confirmed how many customers will be eligible for compensation.

It also hasn’t said whether customers who haven’t accrued fees but were still impacted by the disruption can also claim compensation.

But personal finance expert James Andrews said you're not usually entitled to automatic compensation just because your bank is down – unlike the payout you'd get if your power or water supply runs into issues.

"But that doesn't mean you've no rights at all," he said.
"If you've lost out as a result of the service interruption, contact your bank and tell them what's happened and what it cost you.
"Provide as much evidence as possible of any charges you've incurred as a result of not being able to access your bank account to have the best chance of a refund."

It’s worth getting in touch with Santander to see whether you could be in line for a pay out.

However, Santander has said that it may take longer than usual to get through to its customer services department if you’re calling up for help.

So it might be worth contacting Santander through its banking app or using its online chat service if you’re in a hurry.

How do I apply for compensation?

Santander is yet to reveal guidance to customers about how to apply for reimbursement.

It says it will publish this “as soon as possible” on its website and social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter.

What to do if you can’t access your money

If you can’t access your money and you need to urgently, here’s what to do:

  • Visit your local branch as soon as you can.
  • If you can't get there, or it is closed, call your bank and ask for its guidance on what to do. 
  • If the bank’s phone services are also down or busy, try contacting your bank on social media to ask what to do. But remember: don’t ever share your account details over social media.
  • Try to do this on the day the problem arises so you can show you made every attempt to solve the issue.
  • If you still can't access your money, begin gathering evidence for a complaint.

But there’s still a number of things you can do now to prepare your claim.

Like Mr Andrews says, build up evidence to show how you've lost out because the bank was down.

Also keep a log of who you spoke to at Santander during the outage.

This is so you can clearly show how you were affected by the disruption, and how the bank dealt with it.

Will my credit score be affected?

If one of your bill payments didn’t go through as a result of the problems on Saturday, it could impact your credit score.

If you miss payments, there's a risk your credit score will take a knock.

Santander might not report the technical issues which happened on Saturday to credit reference agencies.

So although it wasn’t your fault, your score could go down.

Which? said you should contact your credit reference agency and ask for it to correct any incorrect information logged on your credit score.

They will talk with your bank about the error – and if your bank does nothing to resolve the issue, you should complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO).

The body will tackle the problem 15 days after you’ve lodged a complaint to your bank.

Mr Andrews adds that you should also go to the FSO if you're not satisfied with the way Santander has responded to the outage issue in general.

 Here's how to check if Santander's website or banking app is working.

The bank is set to close 111 branches by August – see the full list.

But as widespread bank closures continue, there's a plan in place to make the Post Office act more like a bank.

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