Simon Read: The cock-ups just keep coming at our high street banks

 

Financial firms' computer cock-ups are now turning up like buses – there are none for days then they all arrive together.

On Thursday, Nationwide building society admitted that 704,426 debit-card customers who used their plastic on Tuesday had been charged the same amount again on Wednesday.

Then NatWest admitted that its millions of customers, too, may have had problems trying to use their debit cards or the bank's online service. On Tuesday it was HSBC with problems after its overseas call centre was effectively out of service for 45 minutes.

While it's tempting to presume that the whole banking network is in meltdown, all the institutions concerned said they were isolated incidents.

HSBC blamed its call-centre problems on a truck crash, which took out local telephone lines in Manila in the Philippines. Nationwide blamed human error, presumably some fat-fingered input clerk at its head office in Swindon. NatWest meanwhile, has yet to explain its new problems.

Mistakes happen. And as long as they are efficiently dealt with, they are forgivable. But the growing preponderance of banking errors is becoming a little worrying.

s.read@independent.co.uk

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