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Wells Fargo outage leads to payday panic for some customers

"A Mason jar in the back yard seems like a much better option at this time," noted one frustrated client.
Image: Wells Fargo
A customer uses a Wells Fargo bank ATM in New York on Sept. 21, 2016.Patrick Sison / AP file

As Wells Fargo tries to return to business as usual after a massive systems outage, some customers are reporting that their direct deposit paychecks aren’t showing up in their accounts.

The nightmare began on Thursday afternoon when customers across the United States reported having trouble using their Wells Fargo debit cards and accessing their mobile and online banking accounts. Wells Fargo denied the outage was due to a cybersecurity event and instead said it was caused by a systems shutdown at one of its locations after smoke was detected during “routine maintenance.”

By Thursday night, the banking giant said services had been restored, with the exception of some consumer credit card and mortgage balances. However, when customers woke up Friday morning excited for payday, many took to Twitter to mention their missing checks.

“As a result of the process to restore systems yesterday, some transactions and balances were not visible in online banking or ATMs earlier today," said Hilary O’Byrne, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo. “We are experiencing higher than normal volumes so there still may be delays in online banking and contact center response times.”

Wells Fargo did not respond to additional questions about the location of the shutdown or technical questions, including whether the bank has a plan for ensuring continuity of service should something like this happen again.

However, a statement from the bank said it would refund any fees associated with the shutdown that might hit customers’ accounts.

The outage is just the latest headache for Wells Fargo after the company’s business practices have landed them in trouble with regulators. Wells Fargo had to pay half a billion dollars in fines in 2016 after employees opened millions of fake accounts for customers as a way to meet sales goals. The bank was also fined $1 billion for selling financial products and auto insurance to customers who did not have a need.

Wells Fargo has tried to put the scandals in the past and regain the trust of customers — but after the outage, some people questioned their decision to still do business with the bank, with one Twitter user saying "A Mason jar in the backyard seems like a much better option at this time."