DIFFICULTIES accessing funds during a recent Bendigo Bank IT outage have highlighted the vulnerabilities of living cash-free.
Some customers found their salaries had not been processed.
Others simply struggled to access their accounts, leaving them strapped for cash to pay for essential items such as food and medication.
The effects on Bendigo Bank customers were many and varied.
The bank became aware there was an issue affecting a number of services including e-banking during the early hours of Wednesday.
Alert! We have been advised our ebanking is currently unavailable. We’re working to resolve this as soon as possible and will update as soon as we have any information. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.— Bendigo Bank (@bendigobank) March 12, 2019
It said the issue had been resolved on Thursday morning, more than 24 hours later.
Bendigo Family and Financial Services general manager Jenny Elvey said a lot of people didn't have a reserve of cash they could get hold of easily in case of emergency.
Few people depended on having cash in their wallets.
"A lot of our clients rely on being able to tap a card or have money transferred easily to pay for things," Ms Elvey said.
She said some community members did not have the capacity to build up a cash reserve.
Update: Our systems are back up and running. We want you to know that we have read your comments and messages and want to apologise for the trouble this outage has caused. (1/3)— Bendigo Bank (@bendigobank) March 14, 2019
The Salvation Army Bendigo Corps has helped over 1300 families in the past 12 months who have needed emergency assistance because they didn't have money to buy food or pay for essential services.
"This highlights that there are many families in Bendigo that really struggle week-to-week to make ends meet," Major Andrew Walker said.
He said no-one who had approached the Salvos seeking assistance in the past few days had cited the Bendigo Bank IT outages as the reason.
Bendigo Family and Financial Services could not attribute any increased appeals for emergency assistance to that reason, either.
Ms Elvey having a backup account with a second bank was a possible safeguard for similar situations.
"Don't have all your eggs in one basket," she said.
But there were members of the community that wouldn't have the funds to open another account.
Sometimes, Ms Elvey said the only practical option was to wait for an outage to be resolved.
"We rely very heavily on that type of infrastructure," Ms Elvey said.
"It's just how we live now."
The National Australia Bank also reported issues with its desktop internet banking and mobile app on Thursday night.
Hi everyone, we're really sorry for the issues this evening. Our services are restoring with desktop Internet Banking and the Mobile app now coming back online. Apologies for any inconvenience.— NAB (@NAB) March 14, 2019
The outage was brought to the bank's attention about 5.30pm. Services were restoring by 6.21pm.
"Apologies for any inconvenience," NAB said.
It, too, turned to social media to alert customers to the issue.
For more on the Bendigo Bank outage, click here.
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