Santander races to claw back £130m after Christmas Day blunder

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High street lender Santander has mistakenly paid £130million to thousands of individuals and businesses over the Christmas Day mistake.

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About 75,000 people and companies that received one-time or regular payments from 2,000 businesses with bank accounts were inadvertently paid a second time on December 25.

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The issues first reported by the Times caused the bank to try to withdraw cash, with money coming from the lender’s own reserves.

Payment included wages or money from suppliers.

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But since the cash has been remitted to the accounts of rival banks, it can be difficult to retrieve it and Santander will have to be at the mercy of others to get the cash back.

We regret that, due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate customers were incorrectly duplicated in the recipients’ accounts

The Times said account holders of Barclays, HSBC NatWest, Co-Operative Bank and Virgin Money were among those affected.

Banks can retrieve the cash, but some are said to be concerned that it has already been spent and they do not want to risk pushing customers into overdrafts.

According to the Times, a bank said it would hesitate to withdraw the money if it meant that the account holder was stuck in an overdraft.

Pay UK, which runs the main payment system in the UK, is negotiating a way to reverse the payments and some of the cash has already been recovered.

As part of the “bank error recovery” process, Santander is talking with rivals and contacting some customers directly.

A spokesperson said: “We regret that due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate customers were incorrectly duplicated in the recipients’ accounts.

“None of our customers were left out of pocket as a result and we will work hard with multiple banks across the UK to recover duplicate transactions in the coming days.”

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