The Post Office has admitted that a major IT problem hit all its credit card and banking systems
The Post Office has confirmed that a computer problem was responsible for a major system outage at its branch offices.
The computer problem struck on Wednesday morning. It hit all credit card and debit card payments in all 11,820 branches across the country. It also locked all 3.3 million Post Office Card customers out of their accounts.
It has been reported that the glitch occurred at the Post Office’s back office systems.
Normal Service Resumed
According to the BBC, the way the pension and benefit system now works is that recipients get their money paid directly into bank accounts. However as some have opted to have their money put into card accounts with the Post Office, this meant that some people may have been unable to gain access to their money, although the Post Office said it had made special provisions.
The Post Office assured eWEEK Europe UK that normal service has since been resumed.
“The Post Office today (27 July) apologised to its customers for a technical problem which affected PIN pad transactions in its branches earlier in the day,” it said in an emailed statement. “The problem affected PIN pad transactions when branches opened this morning until around 3.30 pm this afternoon. The problem has now been resolved with customers able to complete all PIN pad transactions across the Post Office network.”
“We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused by a problem with the PIN pad system in our branches,” said Martin Moran, Post Office Commercial Director. “Normal service was restored this afternoon, including for the Post Office Card Account, and credit and debit card cash withdrawals.”
The Post Office said that its network remained open throughout and special arrangements were put in place to ensure that emergency cash payments were made to pensioners and benefit claimants using the Post Office Card Account.
It said that around 1,000 of these emergency payments were made to Post Office Card Account customers who came into Post Office branches to withdraw cash while this service was unavailable.
It also added that Wednesday was the quietest day of the week for benefit payments in Post Office branches.
The Post Office is in the process of transforming itself and updating its IT systems. Earlier this year it revealed its attempt to enter the digital age, after the Royal Mail introduced a new digital watermarking technology that allows businesses to make their post interactive.
People wishing to receive ‘digitally enhanced’ post will need either an iPhone 3G or an Android powered phone, and will have to download the free Digital Space App. This will allow them to access rich media content by simply holding their phone over the digitally watermarked image.
And in September 2010, the Royal Mail also introduced ‘intelligent stamps’, which were designed to interact with smartphones using image-recognition technology.