Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest are set to pay out £10m to 300,000 customers who have forgotten to take their money from a cash machine and as a result it was swallowed back up.
The bank, which is 82pc owned by the taxpayer, and its offshoot NatWest, confirmed it had changed its policy on the process known as retracting in March last year and was in the process of compensating hundreds of thousands of customers.
Other banks automatically credit people’s accounts when they leave money behind at the cash machine, but RBS, until recently, diverted the money into its own “reserves” accounts and only repaid if the customer asked for one.
The bank will refund customers who have had money retracted since January 2005, which is as far back as records go.
January 2005. Seven years from 2012.
A statement from RBS said: ““We are in the process of proactively contacting our RBS and NatWest customers who, according to our records, at some point have not collected all of their dispensed cash.
"We will be refunding the value of their transactions in full, with an additional goodwill payment.”
RBS said it would be refunding the full amount of the money withdrawn, as it was not possible to know if they took all or some of the notes. The goodwill payment will be inline with the highest rate the customer could have got from an instant access savings account from the time of the retract to the date of refund.
In one letter seen by The Times, NatWest wrote, “As part of our commitment to become Britain’s most Helpful Bank, we have undertaken a review of our historic ATM (cash machine) withdrawals and have identified there have been occasions where customers did not take all the cash from the ATM; however, their account was debited.
“This happened to you, and to address this we are arranging for the amount of the withdrawal to be refunded to you within seven days of the date of this letter.”
Thousands of bank customers forget to take money from cash machines each year. After a 30-second wait the notes are pulled back into the machine which is known as a retract.