THE two biggest banks in the country were hit by payment blunders that affected thousands of customers on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
As the country entered the last few days of frenzied Christmas shopping, both AIB and Bank of Ireland were forced to apologise for problems hitting their customers.
Customers of AIB were not able to use their debit cards to get access to cash in automated teller machines (ATMs) operated by other banks.
The cards worked in ATMs operated by AIB, but for a number of hours yesterday customers of the bank were shut out of teller machines of other banks.
The bank blamed a "third-party provider" for the error, but insisted "no customer will be out of pocket as a result of this".
However, it caused major disruption as AIB customers were extremely limited in where they could access their funds.
And some customers at Bank of Ireland faced payment delays to their accounts yesterday.
The bank confirmed that an incoming payment file was delayed overnight. This meant that money that was supposed to be credited to customer accounts did not go through for a number of hours.
This affected payments being made into the accounts of BoI customers, and salary and pension payments, the bank said.
The problem was resolved after a few hours and accounts were eventually updated.
It is not known how many customers were affected by the delay to a payment file.
A spokeswoman for BoI said: "We can confirm that all payments that were delayed by just a few hours have now been credited to customer accounts.
"The delay was due to a file arriving into us late for processing -- this was outside of our control. It did not affect all payments nor was there any system issue or any delay in our processing cycles."
The latest setbacks come days after Ulster Bank was forced to again offer to refund its customers after they were denied access to their wages and pensions after its payments systems were crippled for the second time in a fortnight.
Ulster Bank said a problem arose that resulted in payments for customers being delayed.
The bank did not say how many customers were affected, but stressed that anyone who was out of pocket due to the breakdown could claim back for the loss.
It was the fourth time in a year- and-a-half that Ulster Bank has been crippled by a payments system failure.
The collapse comes soon after the boss of Ulster Bank's parent company admitted that the group had failed to invest enough money in keeping its systems up to date.
At the start of December, Ulster Bank admitted that hundreds of thousands of its customers were unable to access their accounts or carry out transactions for several hours.
Just over a year ago, an IT breakdown resulted in Ulster Bank customers being locked out of their accounts for up to a month.