The Australian newspaper reported yesterday that:
“A computer glitch has caused thousands of Westpac accounts to be wrongly debited, leaving some of the bank’s customers out of pocket by thousands of dollars over the Christmas period.
The bank admitted yesterday ‘thousands’ of deit and credit card transactions had been charged twice, sending many accounts wrongly into debit and leaving the bank’s customers without access to their own funds – some for more than 10 days.”
I went to try and find the story online and my Google search immediately came back with:
Computer glitch strips millions from Westpac accounts
Except that’s a story from September 2003, where it seems Westpac had exactly the same problem:
“Westpac customers had millions of dollars removed from their accounts during the weekend because of a computer glitch.
Angry customers started ringing the bank on Friday night, after finding it had deducted twice as much as it should have from their accounts for automatic withdrawals such as mortgage and utility bill payments. “
But hey, if you can muck it up twice, you can do it three times:
Westpac computer glitch delays $8lm in welfare payments
“About 20,000 people missed out on receiving $8 million in welfare payments this morning following a computer glitch at Westpac Banking Corp Ltd.
Westpac spokesman David Lording said a “technical glitch” involving computer information about the Centrelink and pension payments had prevented money from being put in customers’ accounts across the country today. “
Clearly Westpac is a little unlucky to have two major incidents in the space of a few months, but it’s all little solace to the people affected. In fairness I should point out that the banking sector is rife with stories like this from all around the world, it’s not just Westpac. What would be interesting it to know a little more about the computer ‘glitch’ – was it human error, software bugs, Act of God….?