Monday 18 March 2019

Ulster Bank offers emergency cash to customers as money vanishes from accounts

It said it will be making emergency cash of up to €500 available to customers who needs it

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

ULSTER Bank has offered customers affected by the disappearance of money from their accounts the option of getting emergency cash.

The bank says it is investigating how money has gone missing from customer accounts.

Large numbers of the bank’s customers have reported that their salaries have vanished from their accounts, while direct debits have not been paid.

Other customers have reported that credit and debit cards have been declined.

Customers said when they checked the bank’s app its shows that their balances are not as they should be.

Lodgements of the likes of cheques are not showing up in current accounts.

Customers said transactions since Friday had disappeared from their accounts.

In an update, the bank said it could be tomorrow before the issue is resolved. The bank said its IT staff will be working overnight to process transactions.

It said it will be making emergency cash of up to €500 available to customers who needs it.

The bank did not say how many customers are impacted, but stressed that not all of those with an Ulster Bank current account has seen their funds disappear.

The bank said: “We are investigating this issue as a matter of urgency and apologise for any inconvenience caused. No customer will be left out of pocket as a result of this issue. Emergency cash is available in branch or via telephony. If you would like to contact us please call 1850 424 365, get in touch via webchat or alternatively visit your local branch.”

Hundreds of frustrated customers took to Twitter to ask the bank when the issue will be resolved.

One customer said: “Standing orders/direct debits due to hit. When can I expect issue to be resolved and will you compensate for cost of bounced direct debit mandate?,” he said.

Another stated: “My salary has disappeared from my account today and my wife had her card declined when trying to pay for a GP visit and medication. Extraordinary how often this kind of issue happens with this bank. Time to change to a competitor I think.”

An Ulster Bank spokesperson said some transactions previously applied to customers’ accounts since April 20 are no longer showing.

This is not the first time the bank has had to deal with a collapse of its accounts system.

It was hit with a Central Bank fine of up to €5m for the IT failure that left customers unable to access their bank accounts for weeks on end in the summer of 2012. Its parent group, Royal Bank of Scotland, was fined €64m by UK regulators.

There have been IT outages here since then.

Under-investment in its systems and the outsourcing of some tasks to Asia have been blamed by unions for the problems.

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