'Banks are suffering IT failures at the rate of one a day, threatening access to cash and blocking essential purchases for groceries and transport.
Customers were prevented from making payments on 302 occasions in the last nine months of last year, consumer experts Which? said.
They added that efforts by banks and retailers to make customers switch from real money to plastic cards and electronic payments must be resisted, as the data shows how the technology used in the UK’s finance system can be fragile.
Since last year, the Financial Conduct Authority has required banks to inform it of operational or security incidents which prevent customers from using payment services.
Which? found the average number of significant breaches across each of the 30 banks and building societies it listed was one a month. It said Barclays reported the most with 41, followed by Lloyds Bank with 37, Halifax/Bank of Scotland had 31, Natwest suffered 26, RBS with 21 and Ulster Bank at 18.
TSB, whose botched introduction of a new IT system last year caused customers to lose access to online banking services, reported 16 incidents.
These technical failures often go far beyond minor glitches with people unable to access their money, monitor online accounts or make payments for everyday essentials, such as groceries or bus rides.
Which? said the figures ‘reveal that serious banking crashes are even more common than previously thought’.
It is calling on the Government to give a single regulator the statutory duty to protect access to cash and build a ‘sustainable cash infrastructure’. This would respond to concerns among millions of customers and small firms that banks are trying to phase out real paper money and coins by stealth.
Recent research found that ‘hole in the wall’ cash machines are closing at a rate of almost 500 a month while the nation’s banks are racing to axe branches in order to cut costs – with more than 3,300 closing since 2015.'
Read more: Banks suffer IT failures at a rate of 'one a day' amid warnings over switch from real money to electronic payments
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