Chase's social customer service team began the day sounding feisty and refreshed:
On your mark, get set, tweet! We are back and ready to help you with your banking needs. Let us know how we can help you today. ^SW- Chase Support (@ChaseSupport) March 18, 2013
But by late afternoon, after confused or angry customers posted screenshots of zero balances and "unavailable" messages on social media and demanded answers, the Chase team had cause to sound first alarmed, then apologetic:
*ALERT* Customers are unable to view their checking account balances online and on mobile. We will keep you updated as we learn more.- Chase Support (@ChaseSupport) March 18, 2013
We're signing off for the night, but will keep you updated. We're truly sorry for this inconvenience. We'll be back to assist at 7AM ET. ^PG- Chase Support (@ChaseSupport) March 19, 2013
The company told news outlets no hacking was involved. "We have a technology problem regarding customers' balance information that we are working to resolve," Chase told the computer news site CNET. "It has nothing [to do with] cyberthreats; it's an internal issue. We are very sorry to our customers for the inconvenience."
Three hours after the initial alert, Chase Support tweeted that the problem had been fixed, saying Chase.com and mobile were "back to business as usual".
CBS News reports that the hacktivist collective Anonymous claimed responsibility on Twitter, but that no evidence supports the claim. Anonymous has targeted financial institutions and payment processors in the past; the group gained public notoriety after targeting Visa (V), MasterCard (MA) and PayPal (EBAY) in retaliation for those services' refusal to process donations to WikiLeaks.