RBS banking operations 'return to normal' after technical glitch


Nationwide and NatWest both said they have fixed separate IT hitches which caused more financial chaos for customers this week.

The problems left nearly three-quarters of a million customers of Britain's biggest building society, Nationwide, out of pocket after debit card payments were taken from their accounts twice.

Nationwide said it has corrected the mistakes overnight and has promised to reimburse anyone who has incurred extra charges as a direct result.

In another blow to customers, NatWest, which is still rebuilding its customer reputation after a huge IT meltdown last month, saw its online service freeze for several hours yesterday, leaving customers locked out of their accounts, while some also had problems using debit cards.

Jenny Groves, divisional director for customer experience at Nationwide, said today: "We are pleased to confirm that all debit card transactions processed twice have now been successfully corrected.

"Once again we wish to apologise to those customers affected. We have waived all charges and are in the process of refunding any costs associated with our error. Please be assured that none of our customers will suffer financial loss as a result of this."

The building society said a "human error" meant that Visa debit card payments made on Tuesday were duplicated on Wednesday. A Visa spokeswoman said its systems had been working correctly.

Many of the society's customers did not realise what had happened until their cards were refused and some were left thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Nationwide, whose catchphrase is "On your side", recently benefited from a surge in activity from customers looking to switch accounts following the recent spate of banking scandals.

The blunder is a blow to a building society which has successfully marked itself out as offering something different from the big banks.

Nationwide said earlier this month that it had seen a 45% increase in people transferring their main account to the society, including branch, online and telephone applications.

A Nationwide spokeswoman said yesterday that 704,426 of the society's four million current account holders had been affected, of which fewer than 50,000 are thought to have been adversely impacted, by wrongly incurring charges or fees.

NatWest's latest problems come just weeks after its IT chaos which stopped people's accounts updating properly and prompted chief executive Stephen Hester to forgo his bonus this year.

The bank confirmed last night that following the new hitch yesterday, its online banking and debit transactions had returned to normal.

NatWest said that the latest problems were not related to last month's chaos and were caused by a "hardware failure" in one of its technology centres.

A spokesman said: "We continue to monitor the situation closely and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

"We will, of course, ensure that no customer is left out of pocket as a result."

Customers of both financial institutions have voiced their frustration over this week's problems.

Bride-to-be Helen Carter, 23, told the Daily Mail she had booked a £5,000 honeymoon to the Maldives, but when she checked her Nationwide account yesterday she found £10,000 had been taken out.

She told the newspaper she initially thought her account had been hacked into, adding: "This has sent us into the red and our mortgage payment is due tomorrow."

Another Nationwide customer, Leigh O'Riordan, told the BBC he had paid for his annual rail season ticket from Billericay in Essex to London, at a cost of £3,422, but found the payment had been taken out twice, leaving him without access to money.

One person wrote of their annoyance on NatWest's website that customers had been hit by yet more problems, saying: "Again? Seriously? Get your act together."

But another NatWest customer said they were sticking with the bank and accused Nationwide of "arrogance" in marking itself out from other financial institutions.

Kevin P, from Manchester said that NatWest were "humble at least," adding: "I had a Nationwide account just closed and I'm sticking with NatWest.

"Nationwide have shown a lot of arrogance with their recent ads and I don't like that."

Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer body Which?, said: "This again raises wider questions about how robust banks' systems and safeguards are as consumers bear the brunt of yet another banking glitch."


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific