The Royal Bank of Scotland had a serious IT failure that started on Wednesday last week that has caused significant problems for many of their customers and beyond.  As a NatWest customer I have received a couple of emails from the bank apologising for the inconvenience caused and explaining how they have eased things for their customer.

For retailers its been a problem around customers not having money in their pocket or a debit card that allows payment to be made. The timing of this ‘technical issue’ towards the end of this month has caused Royal Bank of Scotland customers who are on a tight budget some embarrassment as their debit card transactions failed. It’s clear than retailers up and down the country have had widely differing experiences.

Sheffield retailer Mandeep Singh told me that he had a great many customers unable to use their cards as transactions failed. He added that these transactions took much longer than normal, but things are now back to normal. Another bR.com retailer, Terry Philpott said that he had not noticed any problems with customers in affluent Castle Cary.

The other challenge for retailers is how payments to their key suppliers have happened or not. Smiths News retail channel controller Lloyd Purchase said: “Any customers who had a failed direct debit last week who pay through RBS/NatWest have not had supplies stopped as per our usual process, and we will continue with this approach until all issues have been resolved.  Some card payments are starting to go through today. We have also started to receive a number of returned cheques that have not gone through and we will adopt the same approach with these accounts.”

For Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest/Ulster Bank customers our advise is to talk to key suppliers about payment problems you may have encountered.

RBS have told me yesterday morning, 27th June that all account balances effected by their IT glitch have been corrected and that only a very small number of transactions are outstanding.

Occasional bR.com contributor Chander Hingorani gives the following advise:

1. Check your account since this computer glitch started and make sure your account has been credited with your takings etc and also debits. Check payments to make sure your account has not been debited with any unknown entries. If you discover anything, please make a note and write immediately to you bank also stating that you intend to make a claim for compensation.

2.   Do online banking. In most of the cases it is free. Check your account everyday and note down any discrepancies. Online banking gives you control and you can manage your finances more effectively. You may also be able to reduce your bank charges and reduce your borrowings. It is the best way to manage your money. it only takes few minutes.

3.  If possible and convenient, open another account with another bank. It will give you the flexibility and you will have something in reserve.

4. The amount and extent of bank fraud is increasing everyday. If you pay your suppliers by online make sure you have the right banking details. The ID fraud is on the increase. 5. Do not disclose your banking details to anyone. Guard your PIN and any other personal details.