Human error blamed for credit card mix-up

AS MANY as 15,000 people have been affected by a credit card mix- up which has seen thousands of pounds go astray, National Westminster Bank admitted yesterday.

Credit payments have failed to appear in accounts held by former holders of a special give-as-you- pay Visa card in aid of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a NatWest spokesman said. They have turned up in the accounts of other Visa card holders because of human error in the bank's processing system.

The bank has set up a team to comb through computer records for stray payments which have not already come to light. The problem occurred in December when NatWest's Affinity Visa card was discontinued and merged with the bank's regular Visa card.

The spokesman said that when payments were made into the former Affinity card accounts, following January statements, thousands went into the wrong accounts. Some stray payments were stopped and others had been corrected when customers spotted errors in their statements.

The spokesman said the bank had not written to customers when it first became aware of the problem because it considered the key thing was to correct the situation. The bank was still investigating the cause of the mistake but it involved human error, 'not a systems and software error'.