Santander paid customers hundreds of pounds in compensation after asking them to use mobile phones to access their online banking services.
Image source: Mtaylor848/CC BY-SA 4.0.
Global retail bank Santander has been forced to pay customers hundreds of pounds in compensation after making it almost impossible to access online banking services without a smartphone.
Customers have complained of discrimination, both against older people and people with disabilities, after the bank made changes to protect against fraud in 2019.
The changes required customers to confirm their identity, either by text message or through the bank’s mobile app, before they could log into their account or make payments.
Anyone without a cell phone was therefore blocked.
Customers have been told they need to visit a branch or call to get around these new changes.
Santander closed more than 100 branches last year after reporting branch transactions fell 33% in the two years before the pandemic, and another 50% in 2020.
Unlike other banks, Santander did not initially offer customers the option of verifying their identity through other means, such as email or a landline.
This left anyone unable to go to a physical branch or use a cell phone with few options.
Customers complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which concluded that the policies were unfair.
A disabled customer won £600 in Santander as he relied on online banking as he was housebound and unable to use a mobile phone as he lived in an area with poor signal, The Telegraph reported .
Others are still awaiting the outcome of their complaints.
Since the complaints were filed, Santander has changed its policies to allow customers to verify themselves via emailed access codes, and no longer require this to be done via text or an app.