HSBC Malta customers left fuming with no card service for five days

Bank advised customers it would be updating systems between Saturday and Monday to introduce contactless card payment


HSBC Bank Malta customers are fuming after having been left with no, or limited, card service for five days as the bank embarked on a system upgrade and reboot as it introduces contactless card payments.

Last Friday, HSBC advised its customers it would not be processing debit and credit card transactions between 5 and 7 February as it upgraded its systems.

But as late as Wednesday evening, customers were still complaining about not being able to access ATMs or make card transactions, a cursory look at a number of Facebook groups revealed.

“Received sms reminder highlighting limited service from 5-7 February,” a customer named Steve wrote in one comment thread.

“Today 9th February. Cannot use HSBC Debit and Credit Cards. Cannot transfer money to my Revolut account from the Revolut app, cannot use cards for online transactions. If this is a limited service... I wonder what is NO service.”

He was not the only one, as many others vented their anger online after finding themselves unable to pay for services or goods.

Service meltdown

Many HSBC customers complained they had been embarrassed at checkout when trying to pay for goods using their bank credits, having been told the service would only be down until Monday.

Others posted requests for assistance and demanded an explanation from the bank.

A user named Miriam asked when the cards could be used again.

“The service has been down since last Friday 4/2/2022 for upgrade. It was supposed to be running by Monday 7/2/2022 after 8pm, today is Wednesday 9th February 2022 and still the Service is Down. Please amend the situation ASAP!!!!!! It’s causing me GREAT inconvenience!!!!!!”

Another customer, Charlene, said customers deserved some compensation for the inconvenience.

“Disgrace! It has been a few extra days now without use of atms... utterly disgusted with your service and above all its the client who is paying for everything, as you never give anything in return!” she wrote online. 

“This problem should have been resolved till Monday evening! I think customers deserve some kind of compensation, NO???? How long does this reboot of the systems take?”

In some instances, HSBC tried to justify the delay and placate the customers’ ire. 

“Whilst most of our card related services have now resumed, your card  may still occasionally be declined. We want to reassure you that we are working hard  to solve this issue as soon as possible and will keep you updated  on progress,” the bank posted late on Tuesday.

“We’re really sorry that we are not providing our best service right now and understand that this is frustrating. Thank you for your understanding.”

 But not many customers welcomed the apology.

“An absolutely disgraceful treatment of customers and it is not the first time. Looking forward to closing my account as soon as possible. Shame and disgrace,” Milos wrote.

Another customer agreed. “This is joke not a bank, circus on wheels. If I don’t have loan with you, i cancel all of my accounts long time ago, 3 years after all the other banks, you decide to bring touchles payments... Congratulations being the worst bank in Malta...”

Ironically, more than two months ago HSBC sent new contactless cards to its customers, advising them they would be able to use them come February.

When contacted on Wednesday, an HSBC Bank Malta spokesperson told BusinessToday the bank acknowledged that during the implementation process of the new system, customers experienced a number of service issues affecting the use of cards and that it was aware that this had created disruption and inconvenience to customers.

 “The Bank has successfully addressed a number of these issues, service is improving rapidly, and teams are working hard, in close liaison with the Bank’s card partners at VISA and MasterCard, to deliver the remaining  services to customers as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said.

 The bank confirmed that its ATM network was operational and customers could withdraw money using their HSBC cards. Online and Point of Sale transactions were operational on VISA, debit and credit cards.

“The Bank sincerely regrets any inconvenience caused and will continue to update its customers through its social media channels and through direct communication,” the spokesperson said.

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