Power Outage at Barclays Bank Causes Chaos Saturday Afternoon in the UK

Debit/Credit Cards,ATMs, Telephone & On-line Banking Affected

1 min read
Power Outage at Barclays Bank Causes Chaos Saturday Afternoon in the UK

There are conflicting stories coming out of the UK concerning the IT-related problem Barclays Bank experienced on Saturday afternoon. Barclays is Europe's sixth largest bank by market value.

According to this story in ComputerWorldUK, Barclays' customers were denied access to their accounts beginning about 1200 GMT. Customers were not able to use their debit or credit cards, access ATM machines or their on-line bank accounts. Telephone banking was also said not to work.

Barclays, which refused to say specifically what caused the problem or how many customers were directly affected (according to ITPRO, Barclays has some 1,720 branches and over 15 million customers in the UK alone), stated in the ComputerWorldUK article that its IT systems were restored in about 20 minutes.

This Reuters story, however, says that the problem hit about 1230 GMT, with complaints still being reported indicating that Barclays' on-line banking was still out at 1915 GMT Saturday.

Then this story in the Wall Street Journal reported that the IT problems were caused by a power outage. It also notes that, "It is thought the problems were associated specifically with LINK ATMs, the system that connects the U.K.'s ATM network, allowing customers from various banks or building societies to use other bank's machines."

The Journal article says that LINK processes some 1 million transactions every hour from 63,000 ATMs during peak times - like a Saturday afternoon. Barclays' customers were reportedly not very happy, especially concerning the lack of information coming out of the bank about what was going on.

A Barclays spokesperson, per usual, stated that, "We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused."

Why the Barclays feels the need to remain so closed-mouthed about the exact cause for its IT systems' failure has not been explained, however.

The Conversation (0)

An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

Keep Reading ↓Show less