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Santander punished for forcing customers to use mobile phones

Santander punished for forcing customers to use mobile phones

Banco Santander has been forced to compensate customers for making it almost impossible to conduct online banking without a mobile phone.

The Financial Ombudsman has ruled in favour of customers who registered complaints about the lender after it made changes to account access in 2019 to comply with new regulations on banking fraud. This entailed sending customers a text code via SMS or clicking a link in the bank's mobile app.

Unlike other banks, Santander offered no alternative means of access, such as sending passwords via email, over landline phones, or allowing customers to authenticate using portable cards.

Customers who did not have a mobile phone or lived in an area with patchy mobile coverage were told they would need to visit a branch or contact the call centre to access services.

Santander eventually wised up to the problems in 2020 and made changes to its systems to enable customers to verify themselves via email.

The bank has been forced to pay out hundreds of pounds in compensation to customers who complained under age discrimination laws.

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