Your Outage Aftermath Guide

Steps to take after your bank or credit union has an outage

For several hours last week, many Bank of America and Wells Fargo customers were unable to access their accounts. In almost every instance — using a ATM card, paying a bill, checking up on savings — users were blocked due to a massive outage. Eventually Bank of America and Wells Fargo fixed the problem and access was restored. Still, it likely made for a stressful few hours for their consumers. If your bank or credit union ever has an outage, here are some steps to take.

  • Check up. Once you have access to your accounts again, immediately do a thorough check up on them. Look for any transactions that seem out of place and notify your bank so that they can be investigated. As Marketwatch reports, if a transaction seems even the tiniest bit incorrect, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution and report it. When it comes to your accounts, it’s always better safe than sorry.
  • Establish a Backup. If you only have one account, it’s time to open another one at a different bank or credit union. Just like you have more than one credit card and some cash on hand, it’s better to be diversified when it comes to accounts. That way, you’re not one outage away from being completely cut off from your finances.
  • Update Passwords. Again, just to be on the safe side: Change the passwords connected with that bank or credit union’s account. If you’re having trouble coming up with a strong password, there are plenty of apps out there that generate them (and store them) for you, like Dashlane.
  • Monitor for Fraud. If you check your accounts after the outage is over and everything seems fine, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. Hackers could be sitting on your info, waiting for the right time to sell it off or use it themselves. It’s important to regularly monitor your accounts and your credit report for fraud going forward. How long should you keep that up? Well, pretty much forever. It’s a good idea regardless of whether your accounts have gone through an outage or not.
  • Chris O'Shea

    Chris O'Shea