NatWest IT Failure Caused By Payments Software Upgrade

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RBS says a software upgrade is what has caused so many problems for NatWest customers

RBS has confirmed a payments software upgrade was the cause of an IT failure that left millions of NatWest customers unable to make transfers or tell if their bank accounts had the correct funds.

Problems began last Tuesday, but have continued through to today, even though RBS claimed to have fixed the glitch on Friday. The banking giant is now addressing the backlog of payments.

NatWest branches were opened on Sunday, having been opened early and closed late last week. Over 200 branches are to stay open from 8am to 7pm on Monday.

Opening hours extended

“Our branches opened early this morning and our phone lines are open as usual. We are checking our systems this morning and speaking to customers. We will provide an update on our progress later today,” a spokesperson said.

Customers have complained of not receiving wages and being unable to transfer money, whilst many were simply worried they would not be able to buy basic provisions.

On Sunday, RBS said it was cautiously optimistic that account balances would be largely back to normal on Monday. It committed to automatically waiving overdraft fees or charges for customers affected, saying it was working with credit agencies to ensure no one had their credit score affected.

Stephen Hester, the chief executive of the RBS Group,  has also apologised for the outage.

“Our customers rely on us day in and day out to get things right, and on this occasion we have let them down. This should not have happened,” Hester said.

“Right now my top priority, and the priority of the entire RBS Group, is to fix these problems and put things right for our customers.

“This is taking time, but I want to reassure people that we are working around the clock to resolve these problems as quickly as we are able.

“I also want to reassure customers that no one will be left permanently out of pocket as a result of this, and again, they should contact us directly about this.”

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Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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  1. This is pathetic I bank with BARCLAYS but my work banks this NatWest meaning I am also out of pocket and left with no money I have bills to pay and bill have been missed I only have a cash card account and Barclays can’t offer me any type of overdraft what do I do then NATWEST!!!!

    1. I also bank with Barclays and my work banks with Natwest, Im due to get my wage tommorow and im worried i wont get paid. My direct debits are due Friday so im hoping my wage will clear by then or i dont know what i will do. I will be behind with my rent. worrying times.

      1. Its looking slim as I have been waiting since Friday gone for mine its shocking to think all NatWest are saying is OUR CUSTOMERS THIS AND THAT well what about the knock on effect for other people who are suffering because of this….. NatWest can’t help if you don’t bank with them…. It always the banks who screw us over…. They are saying they will repay any charges to NATWEST bank accounts this dose not say anything about other bank

  2. Anytime a major bank founded in the 1830’s opens on Sunday for ‘the first time in history’ due to a technical glitch, you know we are in a new world.

    A software upgrade bringing down a website is nothing new. But when you can’t access your cash, that’s a reputation killer. IT now really is business technology and it needs to be ready to do business. And unfortunately it’s not.

    So how does an upgrade from development create operational havoc? In a nutshell, by breaking complex inter-dependencies. IT has become increasingly complex, with thousands of applications, virtualised servers, agile applications and a book full of systems management tools and processes that all need to be managed and integrated. When an application thing doesn’t like an infrastructure thing and the system management system can’t manage it, you have an outage.

    Complex systems fail in creative ways and the solution to complexity is always simplicity – break the problem down and keep it simple. So it would appear we have a DevOps problem. Development is about innovation, something that’s extremely important for a personal banking website. Operations is about reliability – your personal banking via your phone application, website and partner websites all need that. The solution is a DevOps team that’s strategic and held accountable. A DevOps team will figure out what type of processes and automation they need. They will see the new world with brand equity in their eyes. They will see technical complexity that needs to be abstracted and controlled, not celebrated. They will see to it that the risk of another outage is less severe.