Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Banking glitch angers customers

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2020 | 12:12 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer

TECHNICAL ISSUES affected the banking sector across Jamaica on Saturday, leaving thousands of residents disgruntled and embarrassed at not being able to successfully complete their business transactions.

The National Commercial Bank (NCB) issued an advisory on its Facebook page late Saturday afternoon stating that its ABM and debit card services were unavailable due to a technical issue and that its team was working to resolve the issue. The bank apologised for the disruption.

By 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, the bank had updated the advisory to say that the services had been restored and again apologised to customers for disruption in service.

But this did not spare the bank from backlash from customers who vented their frustration in no uncertain manner.

“This problem occurred from early afternoon. No NCB cards are being accepted at POS, ABMs of any bank. Went supermarket and had to leave goods at cashier. Very bad customer service to just putting out a statement,” one disgruntle customer replied to the first advisory.

It is unclear how widespread across the banking sector the problems were, but it appears that they were not limited to NCB.

Several residents in St Ann, St Mary, and St Catherine reported on Saturday evening that they were unable to get cash from ABMs across those parishes.


One St Ann resident said that he tried to withdraw funds from a Scotiabank machine at White River, but the machine indicated that that particular function was unavailable. However, the machine still offered other services such as bill payment and phone top-up.

A gentleman, who had just arrived in Ocho Rios from Spanish Town and had joined a gathering of persons at an ABM location, told The Gleaner that he encountered similar problems at several ATMs in the Old Capital and in towns along the way to the tourist resort town.

“All the way to Ochi, not one machine a work. Now mi reach, is the same thing,” he complained.

Similarly, a female resident of Oracabessa, St Mary, thought nothing of it when she went to the ABM in that town and was unable to withdraw money, thinking she could have done so when she reached Ocho Rios. But she was left frustrated when she reached Ocho Rios and encountered the same problem.

“Right now mi stuck without cash an’ mi need fi guh market fi pick up a few things and run a few other errands,” she said, shaking her head in disappointment.

On Sunday, a representative from Jamaica National (JN) Bank told The Gleaner that JN services were not affected over the period. However, he pointed out that with NCB experiencing technical problems, it could have meant that persons would have been unable to use NCB debit cards to do transactions at JN machines.

Efforts to get comments from NCB and Scotiabank were unsuccessful.