Cloud service outage results in ATM problems for Australian banks

by Jonathan Adams

After severe storms on the east coast caused widespread damage, including a major outage at a cloud computing service used by several banks, millions of Australian banking customers were unable to access ATM and Eftpos services on Sunday.

Amazon Web Services, a web hosting platform popular with several banks and retailers, has been blamed for many of the ATM and Eftpos problems which have affected a number of banks and their customers, including Westpac, ME Bank and Commonwealth Bank.

In addition payment providers such as First Data have also been held responsible by some of the banks.

Shoppers had to abandon their trolleys at supermarkets as they were unable to use their bank cards, and frustration soon spilled over onto social media. By Monday, most faults have been fixed. Bank of Queensland reported that its ATM and Eftpos services had been restored late on Sunday evening.

However, other banks such as Westpac were still facing problems.

These latest problems come less than a month after four banks – Westpac, St George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne – reported problems with their ATM networks.

The repeated failures have raised the issue of banks’ reliance on third party providers and data centres and their failure to back up their servers at alternative locations and thus avoid the problems caused by localised storms.

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