HSBC, whose business customers are affected, is trying to resolve the problem, but does not know if it will be able to process payments by the end of the day.
It said: “HSBC apologises for the inconvenience this has caused. We are taking immediate steps to ensure the payments reach beneficiaries as quickly as possible.
“We will work with other banks to ensure that customers do not lose out as a result of today’s problems.”
The fault affecting payments relates to the way HSBC transmitted information to the national Bacs payment system. It centres on payments, such as invoices and salaries, which should have gone out automatically overnight.
HSBC is working with other banks to make sure that affected account holders who end up overdrawn do not lose out.
The problem relates to HSBC clients, but other banks’ customers are affected if they rely on payments, including wages, from HSBC accounts.
Hey @HSBC_UK are you going to pay people at some point today, we’ve got mortgages to pay! Are you going to pay any late charges?
Alan Charlesworth, managing director of insurance and legal recruiter IPS Group, took to Twitter to complain: “None of my staff have been paid. HSBC when will this be sorted?”
Another Twitter user wrote: “HSBC. None of my staff have been paid. Cannot get through to them on the phone. Absolute shambles of a bank! Extremely poor performance.
“I trust you are going to reimburse my employees that will incur late payment fees due to your Bacs payments failure.”
This is not the first time HSBC has experienced computer problems. In 2011, a glitch stopped HSBC customers from accessing their own money, with some having their cards declined at bank tills and cash machines and being unable to use online banking.
In June, about 600,0000 expected payments to RBS customers were not paid because of computer problems. Some customers did not receive direct debits they were expecting, including salaries and tax credits.