NatWest app users unable to access bank accounts

The bank’s mobile app fails for the second time in eight days as it pledges to spend more on IT infrastructure

NatWest customers have found themselves locked out of the its mobile app for the second time in eight days, as high demand for the service caused the latest in a series of IT glitches at the bank.

For about 40 minutes from 9am today, some of the 2 million regular users of the app were unable to log in to the apps run by NatWest, its parent company RBS and Ulster Bank to check balances or make payments, although the bank said all existing payments had gone through as expected.

With the final day of the month falling on a Friday it is pay day for many employees, and a spokesman for the bank said the failure of the app had been caused by huge demand as people attempted to log in and check their balances.

He said the bank was investing an extra £450m in its IT infrastructure over the next two years, on top of its normal technology spend.

The bank has been trying to encourage customers to increase their use of its apps, and the NatWest homepage carries prominent adverts for its mobile phone-based “Pay your contacts” service.

However, it has experienced a series of technical issues, including a break down in the mobile app on 24 May which lasted more than two hours. That was not due to user demand, but the bank has not announced what went wrong.

In April, the Financial Conduct Authority began an investigation into a technology meltdown at the bank in June 2012 which left some customers completely locked out of their accounts for several weeks.

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