Banking glitch affects many

NAOMI ARNOLD
Last updated 12:00 16/02/2013

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Valentines Day may have been harder on your bank balance than you thought.

On Thursday night, many direct debit payments administered by Westpac were doubled up, leaving people out of pocket and some in the red.

The double-dipping also affected businesses that banked with Westpac, including Nelson City Council.

Nelson City Council communications adviser Angela Ricker said the "unfortunate bank error" meant that its normal direct debits were doubled overnight, an error that likely affected all of its 1550 customers with direct debits set up for rates and other regular payments.

Nelson City Council received 150 calls on Friday morning alone.

"Westpac have advised us that those charges will be reversed today or overnight and, if anyone incurs fees, to contact the bank," Ms Ricker said.

Tasman District Council banks with ASB, so the error did not affect them.

On the Nelson Mail's Facebook page, Julia Ferguson said her Nelson City Council water and rates payments were deducted twice. Marie Robertson said her water, rates, and insurance payments all came out twice, and an eftpos payment she made yesterday, which was accepted, didn't come out of her account at all.

She said a staff member at her bank was "working on it".

Jaine Ni Chroinin said that she was charged a dishonour fee after the double payments came out.

A Westpac spokesman said an "unfortunate" human error had seen a small number of double payments which were expected to be cleared today.

"Obviously there'll be no customer impact in terms of being out of pocket," he said. "It seems reasonably isolated [to Nelson]."

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- The Nelson Mail

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