Friday, 22 June 2012

Helpful Advice for any Nat West/RBS customers from MSE

Martin Lewis' website - Money Saving's Expert has put out some useful advice today as the news broke that Nat West & RBS have announced their computer woes may continue over the weekend, affecting customer bank accounts and access.

NatWest nightmare day three: Q&A on your rights 

NatWest nightmare day three: Q&A on your rights

Millions of NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank customers are still experiencing major problems, on day three of the banks' meltdown.

Many have been left without cash after "technical problems" struck the sister banks, leaving some customers' wages not appearing as a large number of balances have not been updated since early Wednesday.

Here's the latest at 4.30pm:
  • The crisis may continue for a few more days. A spokeswoman says: "We will work through the weekend and hope to be in a good place on Monday."
  • NatWest customers are worst affected, though many account holders of sister banks RBS and Ulster Bank have also been hit.
  • The banks say they will refund all charges as a result of the gaffe, even if levied by a third party.
  • They also say they'll show "discretion" in helping those short of cash.
  • Branches will be open on Saturday, many from 9am till 6pm, and also on Sunday from 9am-noon.
  • Some customers can now see their correct balance, but the banks say "large numbers" still can't.
  • Non-NatWest/RBS customers have been hit where their employer banks with them, meaning their wages may not be paid. Alternatively, they may be waiting in vain for transfers from Natwest/RBS customers.
Furious account holders have turned to Twitter and our forums to vent their frustration and look for help.

Twitter user vCJv said this morning: "Due to #natwest technical issue, I'm currently homeless. My house purchase failed to complete. I'll be switching bank ASAP."
Many have reported:
  • Wages not being paid in.
  • Transfers not going in or out.
  • Being unable to view transactions.
  • An inability to make online payments.
  • Cash paid in that isn't showing on their statement.
What can you do?
  • I need cash or need to pay a bill but it says I don't have the funds. If money due is not showing as being paid (such as wages or or a bank transfer), the official line is you should contact the bank and it may show "discretion". We've heard reports of customers being given £300 cash where they can prove it's their payday and of being given an extended interest-free overdraft.

  • I've been hit with bank charges because of a late payment. NatWest/RBS says it will refund ALL charges incurred as a direct result of the meltdown. This includes charges levied by a third party; for example, if you were late paying a non-NatWest credit card or mortgage because your account wrongly showed there wasn't sufficient cash. The independent Financial Ombudsman Service says banks must put you in the position you'd have been without their error.

  • My employer banks with NatWest and I've not been paid. Talk to your employer to see if it can provide emergency assistance. Also let your bank know and ask for help, plus any companies you need to pay soon, where you think the cash won't be available, to see if they can delay payment.

  • I can't pay bills with other banks or utility firms. If you've not had money paid in to cover other bills, let those lenders or companies know what's going on. They may be able to delay payment or refund charges. Santander, for example, says it will cancel charges that are clearly a result of the NatWest meltdown.

  • I've got a black mark on my credit file due to a late payment. NatWest/RBS is still to confirm its policy. James Jones, from credit agency Experian, says you should ask NatWest to remove any default or ask the bank for a letter to provide to a third party, if applied by another firm. If the entry is not corrected you can put a 'notice of correction' on your credit file. He stresses lenders should allow 7-10 days before registering a late payment so this may not become an issue.
What NatWest/RBS says
A NatWest/RBS statement said this morning: "Unfortunately, we are experiencing technical issues with our systems.
"Customers' account balances have not updated properly overnight. If money has gone into an account it may be delayed appearing on their balance.
"We can assure customers this is strictly a technical issue and continue to work hard to resolve it."
A bank spokeswoman said last night: "This is a technical problem affecting a large number of NatWest and Ulster Bank customers, and a small number of RBS customers, including some of our business customers.
"It was caused by a failure of our systems to properly update customers' balances overnight. The main problem customers are having is that where people have had money go into their accounts overnight, there may be a delay in it showing up on their balance.
"This is an unacceptable inconvenience for our customers, for which we apologise.
"We can assure our customers that this problem is strictly of a technical nature and will be fixed as soon as possible. We can also confirm that no customers will be permanently out of pocket as a result of this."
The bank kept many branches open until 7pm last night and re-opened them at 8am today.

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