Quick notes:

  • Contact your creditors as soon as you identify an issue
  • Utilize more than one bank
  • Have backup payment methods arranged in advance

With large and complicated electronics systems in place, all banks are susceptible to a banking outage. However, if your bank experiences one it is important to consider how you’ll manage the access to your money.

Believe it or not, banking outages actually happen more often than people know. Most times, issues are typically resolved fairly quickly but in the recent case of a recent outage at Chime bank, the lack of service lasted for days. Although it can be extremely frustrating when you can’t access your money it is important to remember not to panic. There are steps you can take both before and during an outage to minimize problems. We’ve got the details.

Get ahead of creditor complications

Not having access to your funds can put you in a tight spot with your creditors. For instance, if you have a bill that’s due on the day that you have an outage, make a call to your creditors to let them know what’s going on. That way they can properly note your account and won’t feel obligated to hound you until they get their payment.

There is also the possibility that the issue takes so long to get resolved that you incur a late payment. Calling them ahead with proper notations in your account could be just what you need to get the fees waived.


Don’t be afraid to use your emergency fund

When most people cultivate their emergency fund it’s probably not with the intent of preparing for a bank outage. They have them for surprise expenses pertaining to their home, car, and life in general. However, when you think about, not being able to access your funds is definitely an emergency. Maintain a lump sum of money at another bank as an emergency fund and you’ll have the resources you need in your time of need without panic and stress.

Preventing problems: Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket

To guard against any problems caused by a bank outage, do some work in advance to make sure that all of your money isn’t located at any single banking institution. That way, if your main bank has an outage you will still have access to money in other baskets.

To forestall any problems that arise if you lose access to your bank funds, be sure to distribute your funds strategically in a couple of locations. Other banks and some payment transfer services can serve this purpose.

Keep in mind that you also don’t have to keep all of your available funds at a traditional bank. There are other options now that allow a little more flexibility. A lot of money transfer services allow you to keep an account balance including Paypal and Apple Pay. Consider keeping one or two hundred dollars on one of those services. If you’re not able to access your usual bank account, you can transfer the money you keep saved to another bank for quick access or use it directly to pay your bills or cover payments for other things you need.

As an added safeguard, you may also want to make sure that there is room on your credit cards that will allow you to pay for immediate needs that you’ll have for things like groceries. car payments or utility payments.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:

Evaluating the need for carrying cash in this day of age where technology makes it easier to access money

Information on what to do if you’re unable to access your bank’s website.