Cyber Monday: IT outage leaves NatWest and RBS customers unable to use debit and credit cards on one of the busiest online shopping days of the year

Irate customers take to social media to complain about state-owned banks as technical problems strike again

NatWest is in the throes of a desperate crisis management exercise after thousands of customers took to social media and reported having their debit and credit cards declined in shops across the country on one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.

Amid widespread confusion over the cause of the technological outage, the bank insisted it would “put problems right” and told disgruntled customers to contact them on Tuesday morning where staff would be “ready to help”. “If customers have been left out of pocket as a result of these problems, we will put this right,” it insisted in a Tweet.

Speculation on what caused the glitch ranged from suggestions of a cyber-attack to another failed software update, which caused chaos for millions of customers for days last year. The systems meltdown in 2012 left the bank unable to update customer balances while other customers faced difficulties in paying bills and moving home.

Natwest apologised to customers with a score of messages on Twitter, insisting that it would rectify the problem by Tuesday, and deal with those that had been left “out of pocket”.  But that was met angrily by customers. 

Rebecca Yates responded: “What time do the phone lines open? I should of had a special birthday night but was ruined so thank you natwest #happybirthday”

Another Twitter user wrote: “Too late, ive been with you since 1999 but will be GONE by the weekend”

NatWest's press office were unable to assist, referring queries to the bank's Twitter account. A statement from the press office said: “We are aware of the technical issues being experienced by customers and are working to get them fixed urgently. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused.”

There were suggestions that some transactions had been rectified, but with Natwest's state-owned sister bank Royal Bank of Scotland also been affected, the crisis is unlikely to help two banks that are fighting to repair their image in wake of the financial crisis and last year's problems.

The 2012 outage saw Natwest attract severe criticism but the bank was able to win back consumers back and was even named the“most trusted bank” at Moneywise magazine's annual Customer Service Awards beating five other rivals.

However that looked increasingly more difficult as social media flooded with complaints. Ibrahim Mehtar wrote: “time to ditch @NatWest_Help and move on to a bank that you can rely on. Totally shambolic.”

Conall Gribben wrote: “Card declined, online banking down, 12 mins to an 0845 number with no answer. I'll be saying bye to @NatWest_Help v soon.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'