/ Money

Has NatWest’s glitch sent your bank account into meltdown?

Have you been affected by NatWest’s banking blip? What may be a ‘technical’ issue for NatWest has resulted in some seriously unhappy customers. Here’s your feedback and our advice on getting money back.

You’re a NatWest customer. You log on to check your balance. The figure is not what you expect and some of your bills haven’t been paid.

Unfortunately this is a familiar scene for around 12 million customers who were affected by NatWest’s ‘IT error’ last week, the consequences of which are continuing to have a knock on effect to customers’ bank accounts.

The lowdown on Twitter

We were keen to gauge the impact this has had on NatWest customers’ finances. A number of people responded to @WhichMoney’s Twitter account shout-out for feedback. Craig Hulland said, ‘I have no wages paid despite saying the problem is fixed.’

And Chris Jarret had even bigger problems on his hands:

‘Due to NatWest technical issue, I’m currently homeless. My house purchase failed to complete. I’ll be switching bank ASAP.’

What is NatWest doing to help?

NatWest has published some advice on its website confirming what it’ll do to help customers in this situation.

But it’s not just your bank account that may feel the consequences of this error. It’s likely that if you’ve been affected, you’ve spent time and money trying to get your finances fixed. We’ve prepared some tips to help make sure you get back what you’re owed.

1. Lodge a formal complaint with NatWest as soon as possible

Let NatWest know that you have been affected and give it a detailed account of any costs that you have incurred and payments that have been missed both to and from your account and the impact on you for any distress and inconvenience.

2. Document everything

Keep a detailed log of losses including interest incurred on missed payments and other penalties, phone charges and any account activity that has or should have taken place (including rent or mortgage payments, credit card and bill payments and wages).

3. Eight weeks and counting

The bank has up to eight weeks to resolve your complaint. If it has not done so by that time or you’re not satisfied with the response, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The error is the type of IT failure you might expect (or accept) from a very small company. But a big bank like NatWest? Our executive director, Richard Lloyd, has warned:

‘NatWest should compensate everyone who’s been affected and is out of pocket, no questions.’

We’re worried about how robust other banks’ IT systems are and we want the financial regulator to urgently examine the systems and control to find out the cause of the problem.

Have you been affected by NatWest’s error? Are you keeping track of all the phone calls and other outlays you may have put out in order to get your finances back on track?


When does a service failure become a breach of contract?


Hello John, this is a complicated one. If there was a contract between the company and the customer that said the company would provide X and they didn’t, then the customer could say the company was in breach of that contract. However, the T&Cs of a contract often include clauses that excludes liability altogether in certain circumstances or put a cap on the amount that will be paid or both; contracts often also say that continuous availability of electronic services can’t be guaranteed.

If excluding liability is in the contract, then it might be able to be challenged as unfair, but that’s very much dependent on the specific clause.

Also, if a customer had a contract with a company to provide a service and they could show that the company had failed to use “reasonable care and skill” when providing that service then they could argue that there had been a breach of the implied terms of the contract.

This is speculative and not necessarily related to Natwest’s specific contract.


Thank you, Patrick, for that response. I’m thinking here that if my employer’s bank has a contract with another bank to receive, process and make available to me on demand my monthly income, and this other bank defaults, for whatever reason, and fails to make amends in a timely manner, then my employer’s bank has a just cause for action. After all, the diligent transference of funds between the banks is the essence of their contract. I hope that weasel words in contracts don’t shelter corporate delinquency. It would be good if the courts were invited to take a look at the limits of contractual liability – I won’t be sitting on the edge of my seat in expectation, though.


FYI @ActionFraud twitted this this morning “Alert: Beware of NatWest #phishing emails designed to play on the anxiety of customers locked out of their accounts”


Be safe out there.


Computer says…

I’m glad I don’t rely totally on cards. Everybody spends all their time now trying to control everybody else and spouting spin on how good they are. Well there’s a lot of spin and sometimes it spins out of control. A lesson for everyone I think.


I emailed NatWest yesterday regarding a bill payment which they rescheduled because of the software problems. This has made the payment late and will incur a penalty. NatWest rang me this morning and apologised. They have also credited my account with twice the penalty charge.
I am quite happy with the way and speed with which they have dealt with my problem and feel that they are getting knocked in a lot of cases unfairly. We hear all the extreme cases the media can dig up, lets have some balance and less hysteria.

Adam says:
27 June 2012

Been trying to get a mortgage with Natwest since early March, it’s now 27th June. Nothing wrong with property, mortgage value is 1/4 what I could afford. I have rang Natwest 30+ times trying to sort this out..been promised call becks 4-5 times never to recieve one yet…have logged complaints on line with no responce. Paid £400 for a mortgage survey, rental property ended May’12, have no where to live, and still no closer to getting a valuation… HELPFUL BANKING FROM NATWEST, excuse after excuse we should all leave!!!

Trevor says:
13 July 2012

Had the same problem with Natwest during the commencement the financial melt down of banks My Mortgage Provider ofered £4000 off my redemption figure if I was to move my Mortgage the offer was only open for 3 months I went to NatWest where I have a Gold account whih is supposed to give me benificail mortgage rates Due to Natwest Incompetance delays and non retrun of my documents I eventualy demanded everything Back The eventualy told me that I had been declined for a mortgage with them and they had lost my file Needless to say I lost the £4000 offer as 3 months has now passed I issued a claim aginast Natwest for their incompetance lets say they were forced to settle I am not alowed to say how much but I can assure you it was greater than £4000.
If Nat west are failing to deal with you fairly and in a timely manner have lost your documents then go to another all of market mortgage advisor and dump Natwest They are a dead loss


I’m with Natwest and hadn’t experienced any of these troubles until recently. TV licencing have been badgering me to ask why I haven’t paid. I explained the issues with Natwest (which they were aware of) and they have given me an extra week for the payment to go through…