Bank apologises for major outage amid release of Covid stimulus checks

Wells Fargo bank has issued an apology after its website crashed and mobile app stopped responding on Wednesday, following the huge surge of users checking whether their Covid-19 stimulus had arrived.

«We apologise to our customers who may be experiencing issues with our online banking this morning,» the bank said in a tweet. «This does not affect stimulus payments with a 17 March effective date which were credited to accounts today. Thanks for your patience. »

After 7 hours, by around mid-afternoon, the bank in another tweet informed its customers that all services have been restored.

It again said sorry. “We apologise for any inconvenience today and want you to know all access to your accounts through online and mobile banking are restored,” the bank said.

The US treasury department released the third round of Covid-19 stimulus cheques, worth $1,400 each, to millions of people on Wednesday, taking the total issued to more than $242bn. Another 150,000 cheques worth about $442m were sent by mail, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

Last week, Joe Biden signed through a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package, which aims to provide as many as 85 per cent of US households direct payments of $1,400 per person, with individuals earning less than $75,000 considered eligible for the relief.

The federal government began processing and distributing the first tranche of the third-round stimulus cheques last week, but exactly when the customers would receive the money in their accounts depended on their bank’s policy. Several banks, including Wells Fargo, said the money would be credited to accounts by 17 March.

As soon as the customers began logging in to their net banking to find out if their stimulus cheques have arrived, the site and the app couldn’t take the load and crashed. Many customers took to social media to report the problem as banks got swamped with queries.

The anger from Wells Fargo customers intensified as it became clear several other banks had successfully credited the payments to their customers.

The Treasury Department said the remaining batches of payments are set to be sent in the coming weeks by direct deposit and through the mail as a cheque or debit card. The vast majority of all Economic Impact Payments will be issued by direct deposit, it said.

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