Friday, 22 June 2012

NatWest respond to 'technical problem' - or do they ?

NatWest has been forced to open in excess of 1,000 branches on Sunday as millions of people are unable to receive money or pay bills because of an ongoing technical fault.

The bank is keeping its branches open until 7pm tonight 22nd June  and until 6pm tomorrow 23rd June because of a significant number of transactions that failed to go through properly.

Up to 12 million people have been affected by the major computer error which was triggered when a software upgrade was being installed to the payment system.

The bank said tonight they had never opened so many branches on a Sunday.

Although they appear to have resolved the 'underlying problem' it could be early next week before everything gets back to normal.

A large number of customers were blocked from withdrawing cash from ATMs, while others had internet supermarket food deliveries stopped after payments were rejected yesterday.

Debit cards were barred at tills, including hotel checkout desks, airports and petrol stations. Today people were discovering that their salaries had not been paid in.

The bank said people who had not been paid should phone them up or go into a branch and they would help them on an individual basis.

This morning customers were being sent texts saying: 'Due to systems issues, any money credited to your account overnight may not appear on your balance this morning. We are working to fix and apologise for the inconvenience.'

There are fears that many thousands of customers could be hit with penalty charges because regular standing orders and direct debits, including rent and mortgage payments, were also affected.

The crisis-hit bank has so far refused to say whether it will compensate customers if they are hit with late payment fees from third parties - through no fault of their own.

NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and UlsterBank who have all been affected share a number of internal computer systems. The group said last night that the problem was not caused by hacking.


As NatWest battled to get their computer systems up and running again, they allowed customers to post their 'ideas' directly onto their homepage.

Irate customers unable to get hold of their money had a few comments, including:

·         'All systems gone on strike until RBS/NatWest receive another bailout from the taxpayer' - lollollol

·         'Account updated now but money is missing! Basically been called a liar on the phone by "helpful" staff. I'm going up there now ...' - BeyondAngry

·         'Disaster! Go back to keeping your money at home! Its safer and more reliable! How embarrasng this is for you! I for sure will be going else where! Sick of this fault after fault!' - Nothappy

·         Well just logged into my online banking and it says my money is there...But is it really? - Christina Smith

Today a NatWest spokesman said they had still not yet fixed the problem.

'Unfortunately we are once again experiencing technical issues with our systems and account balances have not updated properly overnight,' he said.

'This means where money has gone into a customer’s account, there may be a delay in it appearing on their balance.

'We can assure our customers that this problem is strictly of a technical nature and we continue to work hard to resolve this.

'We also recognise this is an unacceptable inconvenience for our customers, for which we apologise.

Staff in our branches and at our call centres are ready and available to answer any questions and help where they can.'

Last week RBS and NatWest launched a mobile banking app enabling people to take money from an ATM by making a request on their mobile phone.

NatWest customers with concerns about their money can call a 24-hour helpline on 0800 015 4212.

RBS customers can call 0800 015 5035.

The Ulster Bank 24-hour helpline is 08457 424365. Customers based abroad can call +44 289 053 8033 from 8am to 10pm.

Think you could do better? To work in the card and payment industry, go to to view the latest jobs
(Incidentally, their Twitter account has not been updated for 2 hours! What do you make of that ?)

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