Customers angry over bank problems

Herald Series: NatWest said they are working to resolve matters after three days of technical problems NatWest said they are working to resolve matters after three days of technical problems

NatWest customers have vented their fury after a third day of technical problems at the bank stopped their account balances updating.

Social media sites such as Twitter were swamped with angry messages from customers who have found themselves with insufficient funds, despite being paid.

The problems, which have also affected Ulster Bank customers and a "small number" of customers who use Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), persisted on Friday, although NatWest said many customers could now view account balance information.

In its last update at 9.55pm on Thursday, NatWest said: "We recognise this has caused significant inconvenience for our customers, and we continue to work to resolve these issues and restore a full service. Staff at our call centres are also ready to answer questions and help where they can."

More than 1,000 NatWest branches in major towns and cities were kept open until 7pm on Thursday night and opened early at 8am on Friday.

The problems started on Wednesday but a spokesman said customers would not be permanently out of pocket.

With the bank's advertising slogan Helpful Banking attracting the attention of many tweeters, there were numerous messages on the site about wages not appearing in accounts or the prospect of being hit with late payment charges.

One user wrote: "#natwest what are u doing! I'm off on holiday today meant to get paid today so where's my money? helpful banking ay!" Another said: "Due to complete on flat purchase today. All the money missing in cyberspace. Stressful enough without this, thanks #natwest."

A spokeswoman for UK Payments Administration, which oversees payments generally, said the problem was not a central one and therefore it did not appear to have affected other banks. But anyone expecting payments from people or businesses which bank with NatWest and RBS could encounter delays due to the technical issues at their end, she said.

Last week, RBS and NatWest, which has more than 7.5 million personal banking customers, launched a mobile banking app enabling customers to take money from an ATM by making a request on their mobile phone.

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