Double-debit blunder at Nationwide

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Nationwide customers have had debit purchases taken twice, sending some of them overdrawn, in the latest technical hitch at a financial institution.

The problem was caused by “human error” and meant some customers who used their Visa cards on Tuesday had duplicate payments also taken out on Wednesday, Nationwide said.

The building society, whose catchphrase is “On your side”, recently benefited from a surge in activity from customers looking to switch accounts following NatWest’s IT meltdown and Barclays’s Libor-fixing scandal.

It apologised to customers yesterday and said the transactions would be corrected overnight and any charges incurred as a result of the problems repaid “in full”.

A Visa spokeswoman said there was no problem with Visa cards and all of its systems had been and are working correctly.

A Nationwide spokeswoman could not say how many of the society’s four million current account holders were affected and whether every customer who used their card in the period will have had duplicated payments. She described the mistake as a “one off incident down to human error”.

One angry customer, Leigh O’Riordan, said he had paid for his annual rail season ticket from Billericay in Essex to London, at a cost of £3,422, but he found the payment had been taken out twice. “In my case, this means I now do not have access to my money,” he said.