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TMCNet:  RBS And NatWest Cyber Monday Meltdown 'Over'

[December 03, 2013]

RBS And NatWest Cyber Monday Meltdown 'Over'

(Sky News (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Thousands vented their anger on Twitter after all the high street banks' systems went down on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Cyber Monday, for three hours from 6.30pm.

As well as bank cards, there were problems with RBS and NatWest's websites and smartphone apps.

The banking group said that while the technical issue had now been resolved, customers should visit their local branch or phone for free on 0800 151 0404 (NatWest) or 0800 151 0405 (RBS) if they were experiencing issues with their accounts caused by the backlog of transactions.

It promised anyone left out of pocket as a result of the failure would be compensated.

RBS - which owns NatWest - issued a statement on Tuesday morning via the social network saying: "The systems issues that affected our customers last night have now been resolved and all of our services are now back working normally." Customer services director Susan Allen told Sky News: "We know it was a very busy time of people doing their shopping before Christmas.

"We clearly deeply apologise for the inconvenience we've caused," she said.

Ms Allen insisted the problems were "completely unrelated" to high transaction volumes on Cyber Monday but was unable to give an explanation for the failure - the third in 18 months to hit customers - saying it was still under investigation.

RBS had said on Monday night: "We are very sorry for the system issues that affected our customers this evening. Our customers are reporting that services are coming back on line.

"If customers have been left out of pocket as a result of these system problems, we will put this right.

"If any customer is unable to resolve an issue caused by the disruption, they should get in touch with our call centres or come into a branch in the morning where our staff will be ready to help." The group said Ulster Bank, which is also owned by RBS, was "partly affected" while several customers in Ireland reported problems.

Reports started to emerge of bank cards being refused at around 6.30pm on Monday.

One customer from Canterbury, Kent, tweeted: "Natwest down again. Looked like a melt in Londis when my card got declined for milk and tuna." Josh Barlow, a Sheffield Hallam journalism student, wrote: "This is happening every month if not more and it's getting ridiculous." RBS and NatWest came under fire in March after a "hardware fault" meant customers were unable to use their online accounts or withdraw cash for several hours.

A major computer issue in June last year saw payments go awry, wages appear to go missing and home purchases and holidays interrupted for several weeks, costing the group £175m in compensation.

The latest meltdown will heap more embarrassment on the banks because it came on so-called Cyber Monday, when retailers are hoping for their busiest day of the year as pre-Christmas shoppers search the internet for bargains.

(c) Sky News 2013

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