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‘Lost’ money appears in bank accounts

Posted in 'Banking' by Arron Dickens

27 December 2012

had a nice surprise yesterday when I checked my online banking statement; an unknown credit of £32.15 was showing on my account. As a previous victim of banking fraud, I am very careful about checking through my statements regularly to ensure I recognise any transactions and obviously this unexpected credit caught my attention.

The details of the transaction simply read ‘RBS ATM Refund’, which I naturally stuck into my usual internet search provider to find out what this may relate to. It appears that RBS and NatWest have decided to refund customers who have left money at an ATM machine at any point within the last 7 years. Whilst my partner and I (we have a joint account) do not recall having done this, it is entirely possible this could have occurred several years ago.

An ATM machine will automatically suck the money back into its internal safe after around 30 seconds if the customer does not take the cash; a process known as a “cash retract”. Most providers will refund the amount retracted directly to the customer, regardless of whether or not the customer contacts the bank.

But RBS and NatWest have not previously refunded customers automatically, regardless of the fact they were aware of the money not being withdrawn. They decided instead to stash all of the unclaimed funds in a ‘reserve’ account and only release funds if a customer noticed; and complained.

A spokeswoman for the bank, which is 82% owned by the taxpayer says, “We are proactively contacting our RBS and NatWest customers who, according to our records, at some point have not collected all of their dispensed cash. We will be refunding the value of their transactions in full, with an additional goodwill payment."

RBS and NatWest will be refunding almost 300,000 customers a total of £10 million, including an additional “goodwill” interest payment based on what you would have accumulated in a high-interest savings account over the period that your money was held by the bank. This would indicate an average refund of £33.33, or slightly more than I received.

This is the second compensation scheme to be announced this week. It was recently found that incorrect wording of personal loan statements by Northern Rock will cost the taxpayer up to £270 million in refunds to over 150,000 customers.

Arron Dickens is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and is an Associate of the Institute of Credit Management. He can be contacted at arron.dickens@checkmyfile.com.

Arron Dickens

Arron has a degree in Business Administration from Cornwall Business School. He is also an Associate of the Institute of Credit Management. He writes mostly on matters relating to personal finance.

Arron is a Product Manager at checkmyfile.

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