PayPal UK hiccup held payments for security checks

Summary:As part of efforts to speed up transaction processing from a few days to mere hours, some users were left stuck in PayPal purgatory, unable to make payments until the payments giant caught up.

Technical problems for payments giant PayPal left some U.K. customers left in the lurch while their transactions were left for scrutiny by staff after they were held for additional security checks.

A number of PayPal users were left unable to automatically process payments after their money was sent for review, following changes to the payments system that was meant to ultimately speed up transactions.

When payments are made from PayPal to customers' bank accounts, the process that normally took around three business days now takes only a few hours caught up with PayPal after a flood of transactions stalled the system. The additional volume of payments led to some transactions being held for days at time instead of being transferred into users' bank accounts. 

Some users on Twitter were more vocal than others (swearing removed):

Screen Shot 2012-10-01 at 09.04.08

A PayPal spokesperson told the BBC News that while the underlying issues had been resolved, some delays may continue until the end of this week.

"We have had some technical issues which mean more transactions than usual are being reviewed for risk reasons."

It was not clear how many people were thought to be hit by the "technical issues," but the Press Association (via The Guardian) said that only a minority of customers were affected.

The problem isn't unique to PayPal. Every U.K. financial institution has to process payments in much of the same way, and hold onto certain payments to ensure that fraud, embezzlement and other illegal financial processes are not taking place. In this case, it appears that PayPal was simply swamped and unable to automatically check numbers through the sheer increase in numbers.

The eBay-owned payments giant, which  currently has 113 million active accounts , has seen its user base increase by more than 10 percent in the past year. 

Topics: E-Commerce, Banking, Outage, Tech Industry

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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