NatWest Bank computer glitch affects millions of customers in UKToday, around one thousand branches of British banking institution NatWest Bank PLC were forced to commence trading an hour early after a computer glitch left millions of their customers unable to complete online banking transactions, use ATMs or make payments and collect their wages
It is currently estimated that up to twelve million customers are still unable to access money, transfer funds or pay bills after the fault occurred in the bank’s computer systems on Wednesday 20th June.
Unusual and difficult to solve
Engineers had once again been working overnight but as of today, Friday 22nd June had still failed to find out what exactly was causing the issue. The problems are not solely related to NatWest either, with customers from both the Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank reporting similar difficulties with accessing services. Both NatWest
and Ulster Bank
form part of the RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) Group.
In a report here
on the BBC website, small business owners had also been reporting issues with the system which had meant they had been unable to pay staff their wages. Transactions were not being taken from accounts and transferred to others.
Many people are finding that even thought there are adequate funds in their bank accounts; they are logging in to find that their balances read “£0.00 available”.
What is causing these issues?
In an article for This Is Money which you can access here
, Daoud Fakhri who is a senior consultancy analyst said that, banks such as NatWest who were one of the first to make their services available online have found that with growing customer demand for such a commodity the basic core infrastructure simply can’t cope with the demands that are being placed on it.
Adding to the issue no doubt, will be the fact that people are logging in all the time to see if the issues have been resolved which may in turn be placing additional pressure on the servers.
Otherwise, at the present moment, NatWest Bank have been cagey about what the real cause may be behind the technical problems and indeed, when they might finally be resolved. Reports are suggesting that it could be well into the new working week before they are completely sorted out. Some customers reported that as of yesterday afternoon their accounts had begun to be updated, while others are still in the dark about where they stand.
What to do if you are an affected customer
NatWest Bank have released a statement as of 13.00 hours on Friday 22nd June saying that:
"We are continuing to experience technical issues with our systems which is impacting a large number of our customers. As a result, money credited to accounts over night may not be appearing on balances today.
The problem is strictly of a technical nature and we are working hard to fix it as soon as possible. We will ensure that no customers are out of pocket as a result.
Staff in our call centres and branches are available to answer any questions
We are also extending the opening hours of our branches.
Over one thousand of our branches will be open until 7pm tonight to help customers with their enquiries or who need help to access their cash. Our branches open on Saturday will extend their opening hours until 6pm and these branches will also open on Sunday from 9am-12pm.
We apologise to our customers for this unacceptable inconvenience. We will continue to provide updates throughout the day"
Source: NatWest Personal Banking
Customers have understandably reacted angrily, as they have not been able to complete simple transactions or indeed have money put into their accounts after arranging a loan
, or their week's wages; there are reports of customers not being able to complete house moves or becoming stranded abroad after payments for flights were refused.
The Financial Services Authority have said that NatWest Bank are responsible for any charges incurred to customer’s accounts as well as any interest payments which may have occurred during this glitch. However, they have also stated that any future losses as a result of this problem would not be liable for compensation from the banking group. At the present moment it is unclear whether the RBS Group will face any sort of action from the regulators as a result of these issues. For more information on this story, you can read here
April Pelling is a freelance finance writer who covers all the big stories from the City of London and Banking industries.Date: 22.06.2012