How to claim compensation from RBS meltdown

By Marianne Curphey

More than a thousand branches of RBS and NatWest are sorting out problems caused by a technology meltdown earlier this month that made credit cards and bank accounts unavailable for about three hours.

A problem with the information technology system at RBS meant customers were unable to use their cards either to shop or withdraw money. Internet banking accounts and mobile banking apps were also unavailable.

The problems came as many people were attempting to begin their Christmas shopping on what retailers call Cyber Monday -- one of the busiest days for online purchases. The bank said the problems were not connected to the huge volumes of Cyber Monday retail

But consumers are left with a number of questions about their accounts. Check out our answers to some of the most common ones:

How can I make a complaint?
You can go into a branch or call 0800 151 0405 (freephone) or 03457 242424. Alternatively, you can submit an online complaint form.

Do I qualify for compensation?
If you are an RBS, NatWest or Ulster Bank customer who tried to use your card or bank account Monday evening, you may be eligible for compensation. However, you must be able to prove you suffered a financial loss. RBS will not compensate for inconvenience or time wasted.

If, for example, you tried to use your card at the supermarket, but had to abandon your trolley when you discovered your card wasn't working, you won't qualify for compensation.

However, if you had to use another credit card to withdraw cash, and you were charged interest and a fee for the cash advance, you will be able to claim that back. If the meltdown caused you to overdraw at another bank, RBS will compensate you for that as well.

You must be able to show how and when the financial loss occurred. This might require a letter or statement from your bank.

Will RBS be emailing me?
Be wary of emails purporting to be from the bank -- there are a number of phishing emails in circulation from scammers.

What other problems might this cause?
If you missed bill payments as a result of the problem, it could be recorded on your credit report. If you suspect this has happened, you can write to the credit reference agencies explaining what occurred and ask to add a notice of correction to your file.

 See related: Savvy Christmas shopping with your credit card, What the credit card insurance compensation agreement means

Published: 9 December 2013