CCR Magazine -  Payment glitches: banks need urgent IT help

“Following the news that Which? has revealed more than seven million people have been blocked from card payments by IT glitches in the past year, Tom Holliday, Financial Services Consultant at KCOM, said: “Which?’s data only goes to show the frontline importance of good IT. Businesses simply cannot afford to sweep IT management under the carpet and hope for the best – a high-quality, reliable IT estate is absolutely essential to business success in our digital age.

“The report doesn’t specify exactly what sort of system crashes have caused these payment glitches, but it’s highly likely that end-users are being affected by issues with system integration – that is to say, the connection points between banks, retailers and card providers. The average online payment system is now having to handle millions of transactions, passing data between the different parties involved at speed and with total accuracy. If the plumbing involved in that information exchange is poorly built or managed, it’s liable to break – with massive knock-on effects for the brands involved.

“We’ve seen several major consumer banking outages hit the headlines in the last year, each as the result of a poorly-executed IT deployment. Banks and payment providers need to make it a priority to work with IT partners that can provide top-flight expertise and tailor the solution to their specific needs. IT projects are not one-size-fits-all – it’s crucial to have access to experts who can develop and amend plans as the project develops.

“The bottom line is that these outages are avoidable. This is not inevitable – it’s the result of insufficient planning and expertise. Consumers are unforgiving – banks and payment providers need to get their IT act together and fast.”