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Payday delayed for 400,000

BACs cockup means empty pockets and pubs tonight

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Nearly half a million people will not be paid their salary today due to a spectacular cock-up with the UK's key banking processing system.

The Association for Payment Clearing Services (Apacs), which is the industry body for payment systems in the UK, said: "The entire banking and payments industry is extremely sorry that this has happened and we are working to resolve the issue and limit the impact on individual customers."

Apacs said up to 400,000 customers will be affected by the computer glitch, leaving many out-of-pocket this weekend.

It said salaries will be automatically processed through the central clearing house (BACS) tomorrow, which represents about 1.6 per cent of the total 30 million payments made daily through the BACS system.

All banks have already been alerted to the problem, according to Apacs, and it hopes that anyone affected by the computer glitch will be paid by Monday 2 April at the latest.

Apacs said: "Our clear priority is to ensure that customers are not out-of-pocket and that any customers affected will not miss any payments being made (like monthly mortgage payments) or suffer any charges for being overdrawn, where this has been caused by the missed salary payment."

It also said some customers could have problems withdrawing money from their current accounts and cash machines over the weekend.

A call into Apacs' press office unsurprisingly revealed "a big list of people" trying to find out why the problem had occurred. According to the Financial Times, the BACS system was running slower than usual on Wednesday afternoon which led to some payments being delayed.

The system is now believed to be running normally and Apacs said it is "confident" that everyone will be paid by Monday. Just as well this isn't the Easter weekend then. ®

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