The NatWest crash - how to get your money back

18 July 2012

In June, an IT problem caused chaos for millions of customers of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and its two subsidiaries NatWest and Ulster Bank as many found themselves locked out of their bank accounts.

This meant they couldn’t access their money and their direct debits and standing orders weren’t paid.

The knock-on effect of this was huge as people who didn’t hold accounts with those banks were also affected as payments coming from any of the three banks weren’t made.

RBS has promised anyone affected by the meltdown shouldn’t be left out of pocket, however, many people are still worried.

Here's all your most pressing questions answered.

Who should I contact?

If you are a NatWest, RBS or Ulster Bank customer your priority should be to find out how much damage has been caused. Go through your bank statement to see what money didn’t go where, and what penalties you incurred as a result.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of how you were affected, contact the RBS group on 0161 931 9959, 08457 77 77 66, or 0800 656 9639. RBS has promised to reimburse people for calling the helpline.

If you aren’t a customer of one of the three banks but didn’t receive money you were expecting because it was coming from an affected account you can also claim.

If you think you have been left out of pocket, you should speak to your own bank, which will take up the issue with RBS.

I defaulted on a payment because of the glitch. Will it tarnish my credit record?

It may do, but as it is not your fault you should be able to get it removed, as it was a mistake. RBS has promised that it will work directly with the credit agencies to ensure no one will be affected by its systems failure.

However, it is important to take action quickly as the credit rating agencies – Experian, Equifax and Callcredit – will have been inundated with enquiries and are likely to face a backlog too.

I've received an email from RBS asking for my account details. Is it genuine?

No. Banks never send emails asking you for your personal banking details. Unfortunately, if RBS customers haven’t suffered enough, there are now a couple of scam emails circulating, as fraudsters try to cash in on the disaster. Watch out!

Check out other common scams and rip-offs in our Scam Watch update

Customers of bad banks make a sharp exit

While the bosses of RBS and Barclays hang their heads in shame, their rivals are rubbing their hands with glee. After decades of inertia, the RBS software meltdown and Barclays' Libor scandal have finally driven customers to switch bank accounts.

First Direct, Metro Bank, Yorkshire Bank and Nationwide all reported a large rise in interest for their current accounts, with the latter stating a 26% increase in the number of people looking to open a current account in the week immediately following the bank scandals. Meanwhile, little-known ethical outfit Triodos Bank said it has opened three times as many bank accounts as usual.

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