What’s going on at Barclays?

24 April 2019
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A Moneywise reader has a scare with their current account

I recently had more than £2,000 in my Barclays current account and it was taken by the bank without notice or reason. After numerous phone calls, I got it back and was phoned to be told it was OK. I withdrew £50 from a cash machine, then the next morning Barclays had again taken the £2,000 and closed my account without warning or reason. What is going on?

JG/Dartford

You wrote to us in an understandable panic and referenced a Fight For Your Rights letter from a few issues ago, when we helped a reader with problems with Barclays, to suggest that there was something really dodgy going on. But by the time we responded, you had calmed down. You told me: “It’s all sorted now and I have got my money back.”

I’m featuring your letter for one simple reason: ever since the TSB computer chaos last year, there seems to be a tendency for victims of bank cock-ups to presume some kind of conspiracy by the banks to keep people from their cash.

That’s not the case. The truth is that banks make many mistakes but with millions of customers, that’s inevitable. If you do become a victim, a little patience is likely to be needed while the bank sorts things out.

The fact is that British banks are being hit by major IT or security failures every day. Barclays leads the table of computer chaos with 41 operational and security incidents in the last nine months of 2018. But the other big banks are also victims. It’s a shaming statistic but mainly a product of antiquated IT systems rather than a deliberate attempt to rip-off customers.

OUTCOME: Barclays resolves reader’s problem right away

Simon Read is a money writer and broadcaster. He was personal finance editor at The Independent and is an expert on BBC1’s Right on the Money

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Dear Simon,With no disrespect to you or your article above, these "security failures" are unacceptable considering how much of profit these banks make from reinvesting our money and the fees we pay in bank charges.

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