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back to article Nationwide DOUBLES card payments in fresh banking gaffe

Nationwide customers are furious after debit card payments were taken from their accounts twice this week. Britain's biggest building society has admitted a technical cock-up led to current account holders being charged double for purchases made by card. A spokesperson told The Register some debit card charges that were …

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Happy

"went through the system again again today"

Please tell me that was deliberate ...

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Naughty Noo-Noo

No tubby custard for you.

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Bronze badge

Re: Please tell me that was deliberate ...

Of course it was!!!!

How else do you think the `C` levels are going to fund their bonu$e$???

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Thumb Up

The marketing people will be happy.

You're simply not a bank these days if you don't have an IT cock-up. #BangOnTrend

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Gold badge

Re: The marketing people will be happy.

I thought that they weren't a bank anyway? ISTR that they even put in some rules to try to prevent the carpet baggers turning up, raping the building-society turning it into yet another bank-zombie before running away (Like happened to Northern Rock, Leeds, Woolwich, etc.)

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Silver badge

Re: The marketing people will be happy.

This is true, but 'British mutual financial institution-bashing' just isn't as catchy.

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Re: The marketing people will be happy.

That's correct. The rule they put in is that if you recieve a windfall on demutualisation, you have to give it to charity (Nationwide have a charitable trust that it will go to - you don't get a choice).

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Re: The marketing people will be happy.

Leeds is still a building society, as far as I know.

Incidentally, I was in a Lloyds branch today and two tellers' machines crashed - anyone else see something similar or is this a one-off?

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Devil

They did that to me last year when i booked some flights and took me over my over draft limit, and charged me for the privilege.

They are pretty incompetent, but I challenge the accusation that they are "are the most incompetent bank EVER"... that title goes to Natwest, even before you take into account the recent clanger.

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FAIL

i disagree

Santander are the most useless bank in the world.

Im the world most notorious money launderer for having someone pay and £800 cheque into my account. 3 months down the line i finally got my account unlocked and access to my wages and the £800 that my friend gave me to build him a gaming computer.

i'd be a pretty shit money launderer on £800. I think the only reason it got unlocked because i decided to book meetings with the bank manager every lunch time for a month. if the meeting wasnt scheduled i walked in gave the cashier hell till they got her out. As you can imagine id had enough by this point, no one was helping me so i had to yell at someone with power to try get it sorted.

When finally unlocked "We can transfer all the money via bank transfer for you?" "No thanks last time you tried to handle my money i spent 3 months fighting you. Give me it in cash now and ill walk to halifax and pay it in."

incompetent is an understatement.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: i disagree

I agree, Nationwide are terrible but have never actually lost me money - just stopped me spending it. Santander stopped me contributing to an ISA (i.e. lost me a years allowance) because of a software problem. It was weeks before the April deadline and I was assured it would be sorted - i.e. no need to open an ISA at another bank. I spent ages on the phone, at the branch, emails etc, they just tell you anything (truthful or not) to stop you phoning or get you out of the branch.

In the end I took all my money out. With zero balance I wrote to close the account and asked them to do it reasonably quickly as I was moving house in a few months. They didn't close the account but instead sent me a change of address form. I can only assume whoever read that letter acted very deliberately to annoy me for their own amusement. Because you want people like that looking after your money...

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Windows

My I respectfully suggest..

alex

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Mistakes happen

Anyone who thinks mistakes don't happen probably doesn't work in IT, and anyone who can't empathize with those involved has probably never worked on the sharp end.

The key elements are communication and speed/effectiveness of recovery. Comms have been fairly good so far and it sounds like recovery is well on the way.

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Re: Mistakes happen

Mistakes like this should never happen on a live system.

Where was the error checking? Is there nothing that looks as a payment run and says, 'Hang on, this payment looks exactly the same as this other one. Is it a duplicate?'

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mistakes happen

Really? You expect a payment system which processes very large amounts of data to do a compare with the previous days file or any other subsequent day's file? What would be criteria for it being a duplicate? Would you be happy with no payments being processed on your account for a day because the first payment in the list happened to look like the previous day?

You're assuming that the fault was automated and not caused by some support guy with a hangover who was archiving files and accidentally stuck the wrong date on the input file...

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Alien

Re: Mistakes happen

I've just posted elsewhere in this topic but my duplicated double-payment doesn't look like a duplication: the online account view shows two payments with differing descriptions, albeit clearly relating to the same company.

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Hmmm

Nationwide the most incompetent bank ever?

Obviously you have never heard of the Ulster Bank (or Natwest or the RBS )

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WTF?

This kind of thing always happens when I recommend something.

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Meh

Pretty Sure

That Nationwide is a building society and not a bank

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pretty Sure

If it quacks like a duck.

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FAIL

Re: Pretty Sure

Yeah, because that analogy totally demonstrates how much you get it.

A building society as big as nationwide might offer the sames sort of 'banking' services as a regular bank, but it is not a public traded company, doesn't have sharegholders, and is legally required to raise a minimum of 50% (hint: it's actually much higher) of it's capital from deposits (as opposed to banks that go out, play the stockmarket, lose, and then look to taxpayers to bail them out).

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Happy

Re: Pretty Sure

Squirrels can make a quacking-like sound too...i've heard 'em!

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Happy

IT outsourced?

When you're outsourcing your IT to High Schoolers in India then this sort of thing will happen occasionally.

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Re: IT outsourced?

I might be wrong but I think I remember them outsourcing to BT.

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Devil

Re: IT outsourced?

Worse yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IT outsourced?

Networks to BT, "legacy" systems to India.

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Coat

All this is, is the banking equivalent of a double post on a forum...

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All this is, is the banking equivalent of a double post on a forum...

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Pint

I'd buy that for a dollar!

Just so long as they don't ever get involved in Olympic security:

"You have 20 seconds to put down the gun"

"You have 20 seconds to put down the gun"

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FAIL

£677 taken out of my account twice....thanks a bunch, tossers.

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Anonymous Coward

Double deduction

I once had my bank mistakenly put £5K in my account -- I pointed out the mistake and they took it out of my account very swiftly, then the next day they took £5K out again leaving me with a huge overdraft. Then it took weeks to sort out the aftermath of their double deduction screw up. Very professional.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Double deduction

When I was a nipper, my £20 a month pocket money was paid from my old man by standing order. When I got my first job after school, I moved branch* to one closer to work, and I assumed my standing order was cancelled.

9 months later, I was short on cash and scrutinizing my bank statements and realised it had actually not been cancelled, but on moving the account they had reversed the payer and the payee³, I was out of pocket to the tune of £180 + a bunch of overdraft fees.

They tried to extract the money back from my dad, but he stridently refused. Their mistake; their costs in rectifying it. I expect for £5k though, they might have tried a bit harder…

¹ In those days² you needed to go to your actual branch if you wanted to get money out

² 1997

³ Meaning for 9 months, I'd been paying my dad pocket money(!)

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Unhappy

This time it's me...

I have been stung by this one. I logged into the Nationwide online service to check my balance at lunch time and was shall we say surprised to find my account over £800 in the red. A £2000 card payment into my ISA earlier in the week has gone through twice.

I phoned the Nationwide customer line in a panic before seeing the headlines. The nice lady explained the situation, promised me the intended £16 overdraft charge would not be made and then tried to sign me up for a Nationwide credit card. I declined.

Fingers crossed everything will be sorted out by tomorrrow. In the meantime this evening's food shopping will go on the alternative plastic. The truth is things occasionally break and you're much better off having alternative plastic than gnashing your teeth immediately after the event.

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Boffin

Re: This time it's me...

But will reversing the charge prevent you from putting that 2K into your ISA later in the year?

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Re: This time it's me...

Bloody hell that's well cheeky - trying to get you signed up to a credit card at a time like this, plus its wasting time as I am sure they had a lot of calls on hold while she was doing that.

What was her sales pitch "next time we fuck up, use our new credit card to buy food with instead!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: LinkOfHyrule

You'll be surprised (or maybe not). Many use that as a legitimate sales tactic.

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Holmes

Re: This time it's me...

@TGO*

No sign at the ISA's end that they ever saw anything of that extra two grand. Seems weird until you think a bit about what money actually is...scary, isn't?

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Thumb Up

I get paid into my NW a/c this week. Don't suppose there's any danger of that hitting the a/c twice is there?

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Facepalm

Would love banks who get fed up of customers complaining about Online Banking, Faster Payments, taking payments twice and other technical glitches to just remove all technology and go back to paper based systems which took days for money to move places.

If you dont like banks dont use them (and if you have to get paid into a bank account just take it out straight away) and carry all your cash in your pocket, just try not to get mugged.

Please stop complaining and let the banks sort out their issues, im sure you've made a mistake or 2 in your life, how would you like to be called incompetent!

I hope customers dont complain (other than to get their money back which should be automatic anyway) as it just wastes everyones time, there isnt anything they can do about it now other than learn for next time. Complaining will just mean they have to spend more money on paying staff to tell you what you already know instead of investing in systems

*Rant over**Awaits the thumbs down!*

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Silver badge

By your logic, if everyone complained we might get a useful downtick in unemployment. So, please, everyone complain!

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Paris Hilton

dude when you screw up this epically, you have to expect complaints.

And when you don't fail this hard, when its just a single customer who has lost his whole months wages due to your own incompetence, you're saying he should just say "mustn't grumble, I'll be paid again in four and a half weeks time, until then I'll let me kiddies starve and the house get reprocessed" rather than phone up the bank and say "oi excuse me mate, but what the frig, where's all me green gone?"

It has nowt to do with whether its paper based or all on some mainframe - if you screw up people will, and have every right, to moan! If you don't like it, stop messing up!

I think Paris is the icon that best expresses this posting!

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Angel

Cash?

... that's morally wrong!

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Anonymous Coward

What's going wrong in IT delivery and management

Two issues (1) Agencies and (2) HR

See the following advert;

"Reporting to the Vice President of Professional Services, the Project Manager will be responsible for a portfolio of projects, teams and accounts, ensuring successful delivery for the company`s thousands of clients. It is a challenging, varied position, so the successful project manager will need experience in 2 or more vertical industries. A technical IT background is preferred but not essential (software development, infrastructure technologies, E-commerce) and a Project Management Qualification would be an advantage. You will also need a 2:1 or Higher from a leading University."

So some IT experience is useful (this is a software house by the way), but not required

A Prince2 ticket, not fussed, and no minimum project management experience stated.

But you MUST have a 2:1 degree from a Top University. Ok how does an Art History 2:1 make sure your client has a working system, with robust operational practices in place before you go live?

HR have started butting in on IT recruitment, in order to justify their jobs, bespite being unable to understand the JD or CV, let alone make a cogent comment on them.

Agencies. I'll start with appologies now to the agents that do understand the subjects and advise their clients appropriately, but unfortunately you're out number by the call centre operators out there.

Thus we have large organisations handling key parts of the UK's financial infrastructure, using people that are frankly sub-par, selected on the basis of random criteria, rather than a practical understanding of the job!

IT delivery will not improve until the CIO take back control of their delivery teams, an assert responsibility for getting it right.

......in the mean time wait for the next bank/building society to arse up a few million accounts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's going wrong in IT delivery and management

Well I hate to agree but there is a real problem there. I post anonymously as I have a nephew who just joined a

bank as a potential 'high flier' with a 1st from a Top University in English. He is a smart young man but I would

prefer somebody to be given some experience of large scale IT projects as money is now bitstreams. Without

an big scale IT a bank is nothing today.

I also had an uncle (on a different side of the family) who was in banking but worked his way up from the bottom

as a teller, getting banking law qualifications and having experience as a bank manager with the customers.

He later went into training.

I the people at the higher levels of a bank to have been there and done it before managing something they know

almost nothing about. The same holds true in almost every industry

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's going wrong in IT delivery and management

I have to say that I prefer dealing with people with experience rather than qualifications. Qualifications/Education are a good starting point to kick start getting experience, but personally I don't think they substitute for real life doing the job.

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Anonymous Coward

Mark my words

When they put it through tonight to correct it it'll fix some people's but may mess up transaction history and balances further... I've never seen a working fix put in place so fast that required only one day of testing + QA.

Supposition: If transaction ids were unique there should have been a foreign key prevening the problem in the first place, which means they're likely detecting duplicates based on something other than transaction ids, alternatively they may run a log /audit log roll back (assuming they have one) but this means you need to know the precise time of the error and have the nightly job complete in much less time than it usually does.

Reference: Experience working in a bank with nightly batch jobs.

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Boffin

Re: Mark my words

Hopefully the transaction ID's of the duplicates from that batch run were logged and then they can just put them through a payment reversal program, assuming they have one.

Reference: Experience of payment processing system at mobile operator

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Anonymous Coward

This sort of thing has happened before

and it has always been due to human error, Dave

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Anonymous Coward

Try it now

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Charge 'em

If your bank or building society screw up in a way that costs you money and you have to contact them to sort it out, write them a letter and charge them for it. One of my colleagues used to charge his bank 50 quid per letter... When the bank asked why it was so much higher than their equivalent charge, he pointed out that his time cost more than that of their bank clerks and that he had no automated systems to produce such letters - they paid all his invoices.

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