Here’s What To Do In Case of a Bank Outage

How many times have you been in a situation where you tried to access your bank account to do simple tasks such as paying bills or withdrawing cash but couldn’t because of an unexpected outage? These situations can be extremely irritating and stressful, especially during serious emergencies. Recently, Wells Fargo experienced an outage which affected online banking and mobile apps, blocking automated systems and customer service representatives from accessing account information. It later turned out that the issue was due to a power shutdown. Fortunately, they have restored services and customers can now access ATM services, mobile and online banking systems, make credit card and debit card purchases, and bank branches are operational. This won’t be the last time something like this will happen though, so you should be aware of your options to be better prepared in the future.

Here’s what you should do if you are ever in this situation.

First, check your account balance as soon as possible. If you can’t access your information online, try calling your bank and speak with a representative who may have some information about your funds based on the bank’s records before the system had issues. If your bank offers a text service, try that as well, or visit a local branch.

If you need to get cash there’s a possibility that tellers will be able to check your balance and allow you to deposit or withdraw money. However, it will be difficult to get cash until the bank’s system is fully operational.

You should also be aware of possible fraud as scammers may contact you and pretend to be from your bank. Do not give any personal information over the phone, as they will try to gather your account details and wipe you of your money. Avoid becoming a victim of fraud by not responding and always contacting your bank officially, for example, by calling their customer service department. Always review your transactions as soon as the system comes back up and make sure there aren’t any unauthorized transactions. If there are, contact your bank as soon as possible.

What can you do prepare ahead of time? Have a backup bank! Consider opening a second account at a different bank or credit union that you can use as your plan B. You can also keep some cash at home tucked away and have more than one credit card from separate institutions. When banks experience computer glitches, power outages, or natural disasters, it could make it very difficult for you to access your money so, plan ahead!

Protect yourself against future fraud. Fraudsters know that when a bank experiences an outage, their call center becomes flooded with phone calls of desperate customers trying to access their accounts. These scammers will try to call the bank and impersonate a real customer to steal account information, allowing them to steal money from your checking and savings accounts, and even lines of credit. Always be vigilant against fraud from all of your accounts by using strong passwords, checking your transactions regularly, and reporting any suspicious activity to your financial institution right away.

In any case, do not panic. Even though you may not be able to access your bank account information, it’s only temporary, and your money is safe and insured by the FDIC. Remember that the issues should be resolved quickly!


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