Banks 'have fixed' account problems

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Nat West bank branchNationwide and NatWest both said they have fixed separate IT hitches which caused more financial chaos for customers this week.

The problems left nearly three-quarters of a million customers of Britain's biggest building society, Nationwide, out of pocket after debit card payments were taken from their accounts twice.

Nationwide said it has corrected the mistakes overnight and has promised to reimburse anyone who has incurred extra charges as a direct result.

In another blow to customers, NatWest, which is still rebuilding its customer reputation after a huge IT meltdown last month, saw its online service freeze for several hours on Thursday, leaving customers locked out of their accounts, while some also had problems using debit cards.

Jenny Groves, divisional director for customer experience at Nationwide, said: "We are pleased to confirm that all debit card transactions processed twice have now been successfully corrected.

"Once again we wish to apologise to those customers affected. We have waived all charges and are in the process of refunding any costs associated with our error. Please be assured that none of our customers will suffer financial loss as a result of this."

The building society said a "human error" meant that Visa debit card payments made on Tuesday were duplicated on Wednesday. A Visa spokeswoman said its systems had been working correctly.

NatWest's latest problems come just weeks after its IT chaos which stopped people's accounts updating properly and prompted chief executive Stephen Hester to forgo his bonus this year. The bank said on Thursday night its online banking and debit transactions had returned to normal following the new hitch.

NatWest said that the latest problems were not related to last month's chaos and were caused by a "hardware failure" in one of its technology centres.

A spokesman said: "We continue to monitor the situation closely and apologise for any inconvenience caused. We will, of course, ensure that no customer is left out of pocket as a result."

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