BBVA will offer free immediate transfers after the digital ‘blackout’

BBVA apologize for the great digital ‘blackout’that their clients suffered last Friday, February 18. For almost ten hours, no one was able to access any customer service channel, causing a wave of complaints on social networks. The group chaired by Charles Torres has decided to offer as compensation the possibility of carrying out free immediate transfers until the end of the month (February 28), according to an internal communication sent to all those affected.

The entity has explained that the interruption of services from 11 a.m. and until almost 8 p.m. on Friday was motivated by a crash of a major data storage center. In any case, the ATMs worked for cash withdrawal. By late afternoon, the services of all its channels were already restored, so that customers could access and operate normally.

The exceptional situation would not have arisen for a cyberattack, as the information has been known. Regarding the text messages (SMS) that some customers have been receiving in which they pointed to fraudulent access to their accounts, they would be regular ‘phishing’ messages, they are given in all banks and those that the Bank of Spain comes warning routinely.

The incident was caused by the fall of an important data storage center and it is ruled out that it had to do with a cyber attack

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the scope of social engineering attacks carried out through email, SMS messages, instant messaging systems and social networks has increased. The EGlobal Computer Emergency Response Teamheadquartered in Madrid, operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and provides services in all the countries where BBVA operates, under a managed security services scheme.

The BBVA app is one of the most used in the financial sphere in Spain. In fact, it has experienced exponential growth in the last two years until reaching 117.7 million accesses. During the month of November 2019, months before the pandemic, the BBVA ‘app’ registered nearly 58 million accesses in Spain and, a year later, this figure stood at 83 million.

The incident also occurred on a Friday, a business day and high activity. The latest data available from BBVA point to an increase in digital sales in the last year to represent more than 70% of the total. Likewise, digital customers represented 69.4% of the total at the end of the 2021 financial year, totaling 41.8 million (+37% since December 2019). Mobile customers have grown 42% since December 2019, to 39.7 million, and account for 66% of the total.

The Digitization has been one of the pillars of BBVA’s strategy for more than a decade and during this time its value proposition has been evolving. Initially, the bank focused on improving customer service through digital channels in order to make self-service systems available to them that would allow them to carry out operations and purchase products in a single click.

Subsequently, the group focused on developing the skills necessary to increase digital sales and attract new customers through remote channels. Ultimately, BBVA seeks to advise its clients, through data and artificial intelligence, to make the best financial decisions. Despite the one-off incident last Friday, BBVA boasts of being a leading bank in digital experience according to the report ‘The Forrester Digital Experience Review TM: European Mobile Banking Apps’.