Bank of Ireland warns credit ratings could be affected by withdrawals made during IT outage

Garda says decisons taken locally to deploy officers to ATMs due to ‘public saftey’ concerns as queues built

Bank of Ireland has apologised to customers of an IT glitch that shut down their app and 365online banking while allowing customers withdraw money they did not have in their accounts. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Bank of Ireland has warned customers who transferred up to €1,000 they did not have in their accounts while the lender experienced an IT glitch on Tuesday that the funds will be debited and their credit ratings could be affected.

It comes as Minister for Finance Michael McGrath on Wednesday said he had asked the Central Bank for a full account of the Bank of Ireland IT breakdown and to assess how similar problems could be avoided in the future.

With the technical issues which affected its phone app and Banking 365 services now resolved, the lender on Wednesday apologised for the disruption caused by the outage.

The IT glitch allowed customers to transfer up to €1,000 from their account even if they did not have the funds. While banks typically limit the amount that can be withdrawn from an ATM to €500, many people were able to transfer at least twice that sum between their Bank of Ireland and Revolut accounts. They were then able to use their Revolut cards to withdraw the money from Bank of Ireland ATMs.


Word of the system problems spread like wildfire on social media and led to unprecedented scenes in some areas on Tuesday night and early on Wednesday, with gardaí deployed to ATMs as lengthy queues of people seeking to access funds built up.

‘Public safety’

Gardaí in some cases prevented people accessing ATMs and dispersed queues waiting to use them. Garda headquarters on Wednesday said the decision to deploy units to ATMs was made at a local level and “on a case-by-case basis” taking into account “public safety” and “public order” concerns.

One man queuing outside an ATM in Stoneybatter, Dublin said he had heard about the glitch on the internet and intended to take advantage of it. “I don’t know if I’ll get away with it but it’s worth a shot,” he said.

Q&A: What happened at Bank of Ireland and what comes next?Opens in new window ]

In a statement issued to The Irish Times on Wednesday, Bank of Ireland said the “volume of transactions conducted last night wouldn’t be a significant proportion of our overall transactions volumes through an average day”.

It said customers who withdrew or transferred money while the system was down would see that money “designated as a debit on their account”.

While some people may have sought to exploit the system glitch on Tuesday and Wednesday, others may have inadvertently withdrawn money they did not have as a result of the system crash.

When asked what measures it would put in place to ensure people would not have their credit ratings negatively impacted through no fault of their own, a spokeswoman urged “any customer who may find themselves in financial difficulty due to overdrawing on their account to contact us”.

Credit rating

However, she added that where “debits or overdrafts aren’t repaid over the long term, it can impact a person’s credit rating”. She said no customer will “be out of pocket where any direct debit, interest or other related fees accrue due to the outage”.

“A full and thorough investigation will also occur into the issue. It wasn’t related to a cyber attack,” she said, adding that the bank apologies for the disruption and knows that “we fell far below the standards our customers expect from us”.

The Central Bank said it was continuing to “monitor the situation regarding the availability of certain services provided by Bank of Ireland”.

A spokesman said the regulator was “engaging with Bank of Ireland to ensure that any issues and errors identified are resolved for customers, and that it is doing all it can to ensure customers’ expectation of a high quality, uninterrupted service is met”.


The swift deployment of gardaí to some ATMs during the IT outage drew significant criticism on social media and from some politicians.

“There is something unnerving about the Gardaí being involved in protecting Bank of Ireland ATMs last night,” Labour justice spokesman Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said on Wednesday.

A Garda spokesman did not answer queries on whether any arrests were made during the force’s response to Bank of Ireland’s IT issues.

In an earlier statement, the Garda said it was “aware of an unusual volume of activity at some ATMs across the country” and of issues “relating to certain financial institutions”.

“An Garda Síochána remind people of their personal responsibility in carrying out their personal banking,” it said.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan is an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times