What happens when a Philippines bank reports a system upgrade issue

April 12, 2019 - 3:50 PM
ATM machine
Businesses and employees are dependent on banks. Here's what happens when banks perform a major systems upgrade that affects its services. (Johnny Vino via Unsplash, detail)

The Bank of the Philippine Islands, one of the countries most important banking institutions, recently announced a major systems upgrade, which had unintended consequences that some Filipinos recounted.

The upgrade was supposed to last only from April 5 to April 7. However, problems were still reported on April 12, a day when many companies are paying out their employees.


Some did not expect that the upgrade would persist through payroll period, preventing them from accessing their accounts.

A Twitter user lamented that she would not be able to send money to her parents on time.

“My salary is affected, my parents abroad can’t send money home, & this has just been a complete inconvenience,” she said.

Financial transactions

Those with financial obligations either for their businesses or personal bills were unable to send their payments.

Facebook user Chill Dela Cruz-Concepcion shared this frustration on the comments section of a post on BPI’s page.

“We aren’t begging you to compensate, we demand that you should at least if you’re not willing to cover all late fees we will incur and businesses we lost due to your system upgrade,” Dela Cruz-Concepcion said.

Comment 1 from BPI problem story
Screenshot by Interaksyon

Missing funds

Some people who have access to their accounts reported that their accounts yielded zero balance or that an amount of money was shown missing.

A Facebook user claimed that she was unable to make an over-the-counter transaction because her funds disappeared from her bank account.

“BPI, are you aware that even your branches can’t do something about those missing funds from our savings account?!” Montalvo said.

Comment 2 from BPI problem story
Screenshot by Interaksyon

Timeline of the BPI upgrade

The bank announced a major systems upgrade from April 5, Friday at 10 p.m. to April 7, Sunday at 5 am.

BPI stated that several of its services will be unavailable during this time. However, its clients may still visit the branches that are open on April 6 and 7.

“During this time, our online banking, mobile app, Bizlink platform, ATMs and CAMs, as well as Debit and Prepaid Card services will be temporarily unavailable,” BPI’s advisory said.

On April 10, the bank posted that it is still adjusting to the “new upgraded system.”

There were limited financial transactions that could be performed through mobile apps or on its website.

Online and Mobile App AdvisoryPlease bear with us as our channels adjust to the newly upgraded system. As a result,…

Posted by BPI on Wednesday, April 10, 2019


On April 11 at 11:41 pm, the bank said they have finally fixed the issues they’ve encountered following the period of the upgrade.

“We are pleased to inform you that our online and mobile channels are now fully accessible.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and continued patronage,” it said.

Following the surge of complaints, BPI then informed its clients that its online and mobile channels are still slow because of the huge number of users trying to access simultaneously.

“Due to the surge of usage, please expect slower access to our online and mobile platforms. We expect usage traffic and access to normalize within the course of the day,” it said on April 12.