NatWest in technology meltdown on 'Cyber Monday'

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NatWest's glitch-prone systems go wrong again, leaving customers unable to pay on one of the year's busiest shopping days

NatWest customers rushed to Twitter (NYSE: TWTR - news) and other sites on Monday evening to report their debit and credit cards were being decined in shops across Britain. Other said they couldn't use the bank's website or smartphone apps, either.

Reports started to emerge of cards being declined at around 6.30pm - the period when many choose to shop for groceries after work.

A customer phoned the Telegraph's offices just before 7pm to report NatWest cards being declined "en masse" at a supermarket in Kent. Shortly after, Twitter was abuzz with furious complaints as others reported identical failures. Many people said they had tried to use both debit and credit cards, without success. Others bemoaned the "broken" website.

It appeared the glitch also affected RBS (LSE: RBS.L - news) cardholders, but it was not apparent whether the bank's entire payment network was down, or whether just some customers' cards were implicated. Many customers spoke of their relief of discovering through Twitter that they were not alone in being unable to pay.

At 7.15pm the bank tweeted: "We're aware of these issues and are working to get them fixed as soon as possible." A spokesman was not able to add anything further.

The matter is embarrassing for the bank whose technology came under fire after glitches in mid-2012.

Monday was dubbed "Cyber Monday", as the day in which the highest volume of online transactions are expected to be undertaken in order for shoppers to meet pre-Christmas delivery deadlines.