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Natwest freezes debit cards, online banking in fresh cock-up

Hardware death blamed

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Another IT cock-up at Natwest halted customers' debit card transactions last night and took down online services.

The RBS-owned bank reckons its latest screw-up was fixed at 9.40am, some 16 hours after it first admitted things had gone to pot at 4.30pm.

Customers complained that debit payments couldn't be made, sparking major inconvenience all round. One punter, Colin Kavanagh, ‏said on Twitter: "Some of us are abroad and need access to money ASAP. If we're five mins late with a payment, you guys mark credit ratings, fine us etc."

Natwest said in a statement today:

Online banking is now fully operational and debit card transactions are processing as normal. We continue to monitor the systems closely and will keep our customers fully informed. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

City troubleshooter and Reg columnist Dominic Connor predicted that technical "aftershocks" would follow last month's software cash crash crisis at Natwest.

He argued that exhausted staff and shortcuts used to patch the unprecedented meltdown in June could have further knock-on effects. The failure disrupted 17 million RBS customers at the time, leaving some at Ulsterbank without access to their money for three weeks.

El Reg will update this story if we hear more on what exactly happened last night at the gaffe-prone bank: feel free to send your theories or facts in on a postcard.

Nationwide building society was also hit by IT problems yesterday. ®

Updated to add

A spokesperson for Natwest has been in touch to say: "A hardware failure occurred at one of our technology centres just before 3pm. The problems, which were not related to the issues experienced last month, affected a number of services including online banking, debit cards as well as some other payment processing.

"By 7pm the key issues were resolved. All systems are now working as normal."

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