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HDFC Bank faces intermittent glitches with payments platform

Private lender on Tuesday faced intermittent glitches in its payments platforms with some users taking to the social media to complain about problems in processing transactions.

Some bank users complained that they were unable to access net banking or the mobile app.

It could not be immediately determined what caused the problem, but an HDFC Bank spokesperson said it was not widespread.

“Some customers are facing intermittent issues accessing our NetBanking/MobileBanking App, we are looking into it on priority for resolution,” the bank said in a response. “We apologize for the inconvenience and request you to try again after sometime.”

HDFC Bank, which issues nearly 150,000 credit cards a month, had on December 12 been directed by the Reserve Bank of India to stop issuing fresh cards until it had sorted out the problems. The bank also couldn’t launch any new digital initiatives. Last month, the regulator appointed an external firm for carrying out a special audit of HDFC Bank’s IT infrastructure.

ET was the first to report that the lender had submitted a plan to the RBI, outlining remedies for repeated glitches in its technology platform.

The bank is working on multiple immediate and long-term solutions.

The action plan that the bank is working on could take 10-12 weeks to implement, a bank executive had told analysts in January. “From there on, it’s up to the regulator to inspect the progress and take a call on lifting sanctions.”

In December, chief executive Sasidhar Jagdishan had apologised to customers for the disruptions and asked them to continue transacting with the bank.

The RBI’s move was a blow to the bank’s ambition to expand its digital payments business, where it commands a 40% market share.

HDFC Bank is a systemically important lender with a 10% share of the loans market and 26% of the credit card business in India.

The regulator’s action followed the bank’s inability to fix the problem despite formal instructions over the past few years. ET had reported that the RBI had raised the issue with the bank during its periodic inspections as customers and payments systems were being put at risk because of such interruptions.

HDFC Bank faced its first big outage in November 2018 while upgrading its mobile application and Internet banking facilities. A year later, in December 2019, it faced another outage, forcing the RBI to send its team to study the issues that the lender was facing. Since then the bank has taken steps to strengthen its IT infrastructure and systems. A disruption took place on November 21 last year, due to a power outage in its primary data centre, resulting in the RBI’s move.

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