“I left Smile Bank today because of the current outage”

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Emma Hopkinson-Spark

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Smile Bank client Emma Hopkinson-Spark left the bank on Friday due to ongoing problems


Smile Bank customers were unable to access their bank accounts online for five consecutive days.

The online bank, owned by the Co-Operative Bank, said it was working urgently to resolve the problem.

But the latest outage turned out to be the “last drop” for longtime customer Emma Hopkinson-Spark.

After 16, she left Smile Bank on Friday after being unable to see a crucial mortgage payment.

“I’m really disappointed with Smile Bank,” Hopkinson-Spark, chief of staff of a technology consulting firm in Weston-super-Mare, told the BBC. “This week’s outages were the tipping point. ”

Hopkinson-Spark said she had been unable to access her online bank account for several days. Although she can still withdraw money from ATMs and pay for items using her debit card, she cannot send or view payments.

“Yesterday, my husband phoned me to tell him that he was trying to pay for his errands and had no money on his account,” she said. “He needed me to transfer money to his account and I couldn’t. ”

Her frustration came to a head when her mortgage company said she had sent a payment of almost £ 100,000 to her checking account, but couldn’t see it or do anything with the funds. .

She decided to close her checking account, ISA in cash and her savings account at the bank and transferred her funds to another bank.

Smile Bank, which has approximately 100,000 customers, apologized for the problems with its online banking and mobile app, but was unable to provide the BBC with a reason for the disruption, nor to say when the problem would be resolved.

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Smile bank

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Customers have complained that Smile Bank does not communicate with them about outages


“We are sorry that our Smile customers were unable to use our mobile application and online banking services as they usually would in recent days,” the company said in a statement.

“We are working hard to restore their access as soon as possible and we apologize for the inconvenience.

“Customers can use their cards and transact as usual and if they need assistance with their account, they can call our customer service. “

“We are really panicked”

Vicky Wevell, a freelance writer at Nailsea, near Bristol, who has worked for the bank for 20 years, said that the Smile Bank mobile app has declined in recent years, with outages for hours at a time.

Like other Smile Bank customers who spoke to the BBC, she said a lack of communication during the recent problems had worried her about the safety of her funds.

“I am really angry and I am getting more and more angry this week,” she said. “It has less to do with the breakdown and more to do with their communication. ”

She said that she was also about to change banks because she could not see which invoices for the work done had been paid by her customers.

“How are we supposed to do business?” ” she says. ” [We’re] really panicked, is our money safe? “

Make requests

Jackie Smart, an office administrator at Aylesbury, said it had taken the bank days to post a notice of the failure on its website and that communication remained difficult.

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“I feel frustrated and worried because I don’t know what’s going on. You can use the automated service to hear your balance when you call, but it actually waits to speak to someone who is taking a long time, ”she explained. said.

Founded in 1999, Smile Bank was one of the first online-only banks. Its parent company, Co-Operative Bank, belongs to a number of hedge funds which, last year, reportedly considered selling the business.

The BBC understands that the outage is caused by a problem that affects only Smile Bank platforms, but not other brands owned by Co-Operative Bank.

Smile Bank customers have been invited to call the bank if they need assistance with their accounts on 03457 212212 during business hours, which are: Monday to Friday 08: 00-18: 00 BST , and on weekends between 09: 00-17: 00 BST.

As wait times can vary, the bank told the BBC that customers can also contact Smile Bank’s Twitter and Facebook accounts to make requests.

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