NatWest computer glitch: customers hit for third day

Jun 22, 2012

Up to 12 million customers still unable to pay bills or move money as accounts frozen


A COMPUTER glitch at NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland that meant millions could not access their salaries has stretched to a third day, despite assurances from the banks that the matter had been resolved.
The systems disaster meant that payment due to be made on Wednesday night, ready for Thursday, did not appear in account balances. As a result, customers were blocked from taking money out of cash machines, while others had internet order deliveries stopped after payments were rejected.
A statement on the NatWest website said this morning: "Unfortunately we are once again experiencing technical issues with our systems and account balances have not updated properly overnight. This means where money has gone into a customer's account, there may be a delay in it appearing on their balance."
People could not use debit cards at tills, including hotel check-out desks, airports and petrol stations. Although some customers were able to access their funds yesterday by 4pm, today there were more complaints from customers, This Is Money reports.
At 8am this morning the NatWest customer feedback website was inundated with messages from angry customers. One customer said: "Absolute joke and a complete inconvenience. This matter should have been resolved a long time ago. I am closing my account with NatWest and going elsewhere."
Peter Hurst, a NatWest customer who could not access his money, told The Daily Telegraph: "It's all a bit Greek. What effect this will have on the economy, God only knows. You expect this in the third world but not in London, the so-called business capital of the world."
A saver called JustABC told the social networking site Twitter: "My balance is reading £0.00 available, so what have you done with my pay? Now your online service isn't working. Unacceptable."
The bank is due to make a statement later on today. One of the things the statement will address is the possibility of giving all NatWest customers temporary access to a fee-free overdraft until the situation is resolved. The banks continued to state that all of those who had lost out financially would have the money paid back.
The technical fault did not affect people who had pre-existing sums of money in their accounts yesterday. The banks' ATM machines are still working and branches remain open.

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Congratulations out-sourcers! When the beancounters decided it was "better and more efficient" (i.e. cheaper) to dismantle in-house, on-shore IT departments - people with a vested interest in getting things done - for off-shore resellers with a high rate of churn and lack of systems knowledge, the clock started running on an incident like this.

It will happen again.