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Archive for July 3rd, 2012

The NatWest Glitch – Everything you need to Know in Order to Protect your Business.
Brookson – Contractor Accountants

If you’re a RBS-NatWest customer, then the last week has certainly been one to forget. Freelancers, contractors and industry professionals alike have all been thrust into financial pandemonium, from disappearing money and missed bill payments to entire house moves coming to a standstill. The technical meltdown experienced by one of Britain’s biggest banks has thrown thousands of customers into financial chaos, and worse still, the glitch continues to affect online transfers and ATM withdrawals. As people complain in the thousands, RBS-NatWest is experiencing their biggest ever consumer backlash.

So what happened?
Sparked by a technical glitch, NatWest customers have been unable to consistently access their money since last Wednesday. Whilst installing a software update, their entire computer system froze, stopping all payments in and out of accounts online and at ATMs. It also happened again on Thursday, causing a backlog of over 100 million transactions by the time the software had been fixed at 3pm on Saturday.

Who’s to blame?
Experts have stated that the chronic delays in dealing with the transaction backlogs are due to excessive staff shortages in NatWest’s IT departments. Over the last four years, RBS has laid off thousands of IT specialists, sending much of the work to offices based in India or the Far East, where workers with the same amount of IT experience are paid as little as £9,000 a year. By contrast, similar roles in the UK can employ people earning up to £50,000 a year. Even though the glitch originated in RBS’ headquarters in Edinburgh, the problem is being dealt with staff based in India.

Don’t look now
According to IT experts, there is nothing stopping the same computer carnage happening again. Many of the computer systems that UK banks use are similar to NatWest, and many more thousands of IT jobs have been outsourced to India over the last five years. This problem could resurface when banks begin to refurbish their old computer systems, upgrading them to newer ones.

How to manage your cash
If you’re a freelancer/contractor accountant and have accounts with other banks, split your money between them as soon as possible. This will allow you to continue making payments and keep your business ticking over.
If you think that there’s a mistake with your accounts or you’re missing money, visit your local branch or go online and print off compensation forms. It’s also vital that you keep a record of all payments that you’ve missed and the costs you’ve incurred by not being able to access your cash. Don’t let your business foot the bill. This includes phone charges and interest on missed payments.

Beware

Missing money may be gone for a while. While RBS deal with the backlog of over 100 million transactions, your money might not appear in your account for days. Don’t worry about overdraft fees however; RBS has made £300 cash withdrawals available for customers who can prove it’s their pay day, even if the withdrawal takes them into their overdraft. Also, keep your eyes open for unfair charges. Overdraft and late payment fees will be waived by the bank, but that doesn’t mean RBS might overlook something.

This post was written on behalf of contractor accountants, Brookson

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