An overnight outage at Westpac has left customers frustrated and confused after a “routine technology update” left many unable to access their accounts and payment systems for approximately eight hours.
Westpac – one of Australia’s Big Four banks – took to social media platform X at approximately 9.20pm on Monday to address the outage after customers reported issues accessing account information across its online and mobile banking solutions.
“We’re aware that customers are currently experiencing issues accessing account information in online and mobile banking,” wrote Westpac.
“Our teams are working to fix the issue. We apologise for any inconvenience.”
While Westpac said its ATMs, card payment and self-serve telephone banking services remained available during the outage, impacted customers quickly swarmed social media while the incident left them unable to access their accounts, pay bills, or make contactless payments using their phones.
“I am unable to access my fiat as I have been locked out of my account for hours along with millions of others,” wrote X user JamesRayXRP.
“Literally just had to leave my trolley at the supermarket whilst battling with 3 kids,” wrote user MaryDyer1165468.
Other users reported visibility to their bank accounts “entirely disappearing” on the mobile app, leaving many anxious over the state of their funds while Westpac trickled out gradual updates through the early hours of the morning.
The outage lasted some 8 hours, with the banking company declaring its services restored at 5.17am this morning.
“Our mobile and online banking services are now restored and running as usual,” wrote Westpac.
Despite the outage taking place overnight, Westpac has been quick to take accountability for the issue – recognising it “took too long” to resolve and apologising to any impacted customers.
“We want to apologise to all our customers who were impacted by the issue overnight,” wrote Westpac.
“We recognise this took too long to resolve and we thank customers for their patience.”
While the outage resolution has been widely accepted by the bulk of Westpac’s customers, some were still voicing difficulties with the platform as recently as 8.21am this morning.
Outage followed ‘routine update’
About 2.5 hours after Westpac first addressed the outage, the company revealed its services fell over following a “routine technology update” earlier in the evening.
In a statement given to Information Age, Westpac chief information officer Scott Collary confirmed the issue was caused by a routine technology update that took place at around 9pm on Monday.
However, widespread reports of the outage started to appear as early as 8.20pm via monitoring service Downdetector.
By approximately 9pm, the platform had already seen over 10,000 reports of the issue.
“Our technicians identified the problem and worked through the night to fix it,” said Collary. “Payments via cards and digital wallets, scheduled payments and ATMs were not affected by the issue.”
In the early morning, one commenter on Downdetector said they were “currently stranded on the side of the road with a screaming infant” because they couldn’t get fuel without transferring money.
The bank’s outage comes shortly after a similar incident at telecommunications provider Optus, which last month suffered a nationwide outage that saw millions of Australians unable to access mobile and internet services.
Westpac itself was impacted by Optus’ unprecedented November outage, leaving the bank unable to take some calls during the 12-to-14-hour outage.
Notably, Optus pinned a similar “routine software upgrade” for its outage before later expanding on the cause in greater detail.
Customers of Westpac have voiced complaints over its response to last night’s incident – particularly that the company notified users predominantly via social media rather than its website.
Calls for compensation have already begun.