Come get your free Australian money, as much as you can wheelbarrow!

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Australia-New Zealand, Finance
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ATM glitch gives CBA customers ‘free’ cash

UPDATED Andrew Colley

A COMMONWEALTH Bank system outage today turned into a nightmare for the bank when its ATMs began dispensing large sums of cash to customers without funds.

Late this afternoon NSW Police reported that around 40 ATMs operated by a “major bank” were dispensing large amounts of excess cash.

A Commonwealth Bank spokesman late today confirmed that the rogue ATMs were operated by the bank and that the problems were linked to the system outage.

The bank spokesman said the affected ATMs were “not accidentally or randomly dispensing cash; our ATMs are currently operating and have been operating in standby mode.

“That means the ATM … can’t identify the customers’ account balance.

“Some have deliberately withdrawn more money than is in their account … and we will be recouping those funds.”

NSW Police state fraud chief Detective Superintendent Col Dyson today warned consumers who failed to return the money to the bank could face criminal charges.

“People should realise that even though an ATM has dispensed cash, they are not entitled to that money and are committing a criminal offence if they keep it,” Detective Superintendent Dyson said.

“They should also realise that ATM locations are covered extensively by surveillance”.

It’s understood that police have at least one ATM under police guard in Sydney’s west.

Earlier in the day the bank reported that the problem had left customers without access to its NetBank, Bpay and phone banking systems.

“The CBA is working to restore service as matter urgency. Full service is expected to resume this afternoon,” a bank spokeswoman said.

The bank said the problem was caused by a glitch during “routine database maintenance” overnight.

The bank was still trying to determine the extent of the customer impact, according to a CBA spokeswoman.

“We are working on it,” she said.

Australian consumers’ faith in electronic banking systems has recently been shaken by a series of high impact system outages.

Last year National Australia Bank had a catastrophic system outage which left thousands of customers without access to ATMs.

That outage was also caused by problems with overnight transaction processing. NAB’s transaction records were plunged into chaos by a corrupt file which was incorrectly loaded into NAB overnight processing systems.

IT departments at financial institutions such as CBA, Westpac, ANZ, HSBC, Citibank and Bank of Queensland went on high alert at the time when they did not receive daily records of NAB transactions.

The Commonwealth Bank today advised customers needing to conduct urgent fund transfers to visit their local branches.

The bank had not put on extra staff to manage increased loads at branches, the spokeswoman said.

“Customers can still access ATMs and Eftpos with branch staff available to handle any other requirements,” the spokeswoman said.

Police said that it was working with the CBA to determine the cause of the ATM malfunctions.

Earlier today the bank said it was hoping to restore all its services to normal by the end of the day.


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