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Computer Glitch Leaves Some Australians Without Cash

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the cascading-promises dept.

Bug 195

An anonymous reader writes "National Australia Bank payments to customers were again delayed today after a computer glitch yesterday morning due to a corrupted file in its mainframe computer. Upset consumers are now demanding compensation for any fees for late mortgage and credit card payments, overdrawn accounts or bounced direct debits charged by any institutions as a result of the mess."

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Money meet mattress (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356408)

Still the safest place until you house burns down

Re:Money meet mattress (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356412)

Intermittent "R" key.. yeah, that's it

Re:Money meet mattress (1)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356662)

Safest, eh?

When I lived in Ireland and they switched to the Euro, I took all my Irish Puts, put them in two glass jars and buried them next to a church. My coins might still be there in a few hundred years when I hope some lucky person finds them, but at the moment it looks like the Irish banks could be gone.

This could be good news (4, Insightful)

Nineteen-Delta (1892866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356416)

Maybe some other big banks could copy this computer glitch and wipe out the billions of pounds /dollars /yen / euros / gold pieces that everyone owes each other, we could get back to some kind of normality.

Re:This could be good news (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356450)

Unfortunately for those in debt what people owe is more protected and backed up than what they have

Modern slavery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356502)

They don't call it "servicing a debt" for nothing.

Re:This could be good news (3, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357300)

Because borrowing money and not paying it back is an honorable way to live?

Re:This could be good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356628)

Sounds like a great way to get out of paying back what your country owes - oh wait, that's the game plan anyway, isn't it?
Let's start by fingering the Chinese for the issues in Korea, and make sure we drag as many other countries into this as we can, to legitimize it.

Darn (3, Funny)

War Camel (1773094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356422)

Ide have had the first post, but my ISP payment bounced...

Re:Darn (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356470)

Now I know how that feels.
To truly understand someone you need to war camel in their shoes.

Re:Darn (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356578)

That pun is bad and you should feel bad!

Windows or *nix mainframe... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356428)

...details needed.

Re:Windows or *nix mainframe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356430)

Why? Since when did lack of information stop a troll?

Re:Windows or *nix mainframe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356466)

A mainframe batch run was corrupted as I understand it.

Re:Windows or *nix mainframe... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356640)

via a console on a windows box.

Re:Windows or *nix mainframe... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356746)

My sources tell me they doing their batch run on a cluster of PS2's.

A shame (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356438)

... Because the NAB is really one of the 'good' banks , a leader in lowering the absurd fees and penalties banks charge in Australia. I hope they haven't put unfair pressure to reduce costs on their IT department.

Re:A shame (1)

ReneeJade (1649107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356456)

This is my bank. Hope I get paid next week. My accounts already overdrawn :/

Here's what my bank says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356454)

My bank at least seems to be trying to avoid the need for any compensation to be claimed:

Delay in processing payments and transactions to and from NAB - Update

St.George is currently working with NAB to manage the flow-on impacts to our customers which have been triggered by NAB's processing delays. St.George will work with its impacted customers on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they are not unfairly penalised due to the delay of payments from NAB. This will include ensuring they do not pay any unnecessary fees or charges.

Re:Here's what my bank says (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356610)

If this had happened in US and customers demanded compensation, their homes would have been SWATted and TSA would have done a cavity search in their homes. The communists have won.

Re:Here's what my bank says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356664)

Re:Here's what my bank says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356726)

That link has all the credibility of a music video. Sorry, you're going to have to spell it out for me, I'm just not that smart.

Re:Here's what my bank says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356822)

You don't mean Communists, you mean Fascists.

Re:Here's what my bank says (1)

Bruha (412869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356696)

And the bank will fix the credit of those who missed mortgage payments? I highly doubt it.

Reading the article (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356486)

It looks like consumers aren't demanding it so much as the bank is promising it, which is no surprise. Even if Australia doesn't have laws protecting consumers in that sort of event, the bank will do it anyhow because they have to.

As a practical matter all it'll likely take is phone calls/letters to creditors explaining that it was a glitch and no fault of the person involved. As a somewhat related example a friend of mine got hit because of a glitch years ago. The power company double debited his payment. That happened right about when a number of other transactions came which caused some of them to bounce, including his rent check. All the fees from the bank overdrew his account, he had other fees from the people he owed money to, and his landlord notified him he'd be evicted if he didn't pay. Well, the power company made things right and gave him back his money. They also called the relevant parties saying "Sorry, it was our fuckup." Every single one canceled all the fees. Since it wasn't his fault, they didn't fine him. Had they not, the power company said to send them the bills for the fees and they'd reimburse him.

So while this is doubtless a stressful time for those involved, in the end I have to imagine it'll all get worked out. Goes double since this is a major fuckup, and going to be well known.

Re:Reading the article (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357302)

No way that was in the united states...

Companys doing the right thing... Not possible here. Or you got REALLY REALLY lucky.

Australian bank now looking to hire (4, Funny)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356506)

Something tells me a system administration job just opened up.at a major Australian bank.

Re:Australian bank now looking to hire (2, Informative)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356622)

I would say its a DB2 Admin, Informatica specialist, Z/OS development specialist and the batch file creator. Most batch jobs just run.

Re:Australian bank now looking to hire (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356688)

I would say its a DB2 Admin, Informatica specialist, Z/OS development specialist and the batch file creator. Most batch jobs just run.

Funny, but when I hear z/OS and batch jobs, I think JCL . . . and then I run away . . .

Re:Australian bank now looking to hire (2, Insightful)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357224)

When westpac fucked up like this, they just replayed the batch the next day and it was sorted.

The fact that this wasn't fixed on day one means they're trying to put the data back together from scratch. (ie: they are so fucked)

Re:Australian bank now looking to hire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357190)

If I had been successfully cyber-attacked, I'd be calling it a 'system error' too!

Re: but the PHB said what can go wrong outsourcing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357374)

Something tells me outsourcing to Infosys in Bangalore will cause a PHB at NAB a lot of grief.

They deserve any late fees they get? (1, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356518)

"National Australia Bank payments to customers were again delayed today after a computer glitch yesterday morning due to a corrupted file in its mainframe computer. Upset consumers are now demanding compensation for any fees for late mortgage and credit card payments,

If you have a payment due on X date, you wait until day X - 1, and something goes wrong and delays you by one day, this is your fault, not your bank's fault.

Matters would be different if there was a problem at day X - 7 that lasted for 7 days, or X - 14 that lasted for 14 days.

It is not reasonable to expect there will never be any problems with electronic payment systems. 1 to 2 days is reasonable to sort this out, you are taking an unreasonable risk if you don't attempt to complete payment to a bill at least 3 days before the due date.

In other words, these consumers should get stuck with these late fees, and learn about a valuable lesson in taking reasonable steps to ensure their obligations are met, even if something goes not quite as expected with the payment.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (2, Informative)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356534)

This actually happened on Thursday. Some people are still waiting for their money, with 40,000 or so likely to still be waiting on Monday.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (5, Insightful)

natd (723818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356572)

If you have a payment due on X date, you wait until day X - 1, and something goes wrong and delays you by one day, this is your fault, not your bank's fault.

I disagree entirely. In todays age of electronic payments and daily interest, it's important to pay things ON TIME. Paying early for most people means losing interest elsewhere. I pay on X date, not even X-1. I schedule most of this. Noone pays me 7 days early, the banks certainly don't clear a cheque early on assumption it'll be fine. The NAB appear to be acting very fairly on this matter, which is more than I've seen other banks (CBA) doing when a computer glitch duplicated a debit on my account. I was 50k down on an interest bearing mortgage offset account for a week - they didn't even remotely entertain my request $60 interest it lost me. They don't waste any time when the shoe is on the other foot though so good on NAB.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356758)

No no, blame the victim. Girls who get raped are always asking for it, right?

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356760)

I disagree entirely. In todays age of electronic payments and daily interest, it's important to pay things ON TIME. Paying early for most people means losing interest elsewhere.

Of course you can do so, but it is not advisable, and you bear the risk if you choose to wait to the due date, you are the one taking on the risk, and you get to pay late fees if your bet was wrong about how long the payment would take. That's why I say "deserve the outcome". Because it would be the risk that you took on, it makes sense your bank should not pay for unreasonable risk you created for yourself.

Electronic payments are expected to be fast, and they usually are, but for most products, there is generally limited/no SLA. Your efforts to pay electronically can fail for reasons as simple as "Your internet connection went down" on that day, or "Your bank's website went down during your break, you couldn't get to the web page", or something went wrong with your username and password/login access, when you went to login at 11:50pm to pay tomorrow's bill.

Or you got hit by a bus and couldn't get home in time after your hospital visit to pay the bill.

Trying to wait until precisely the due date for preserving interest is Pennywise pound foolish, particularly when the best rate for an interest bearing liquid account is about 1%. The amounts involved have to be more than approximately $20,000, before even $0.10 of interest is at stake.

You can lose more money long run, if for no other reason than due to your own mistake, or misunderstanding of your bank's rules; human error is likely to be costly for you, when you leave zero margin for error.

Automatic payment systems always or almost always come with a disclaimer that payment cannot be guaranteed. Funds may be on hold unexpectedly, items can take longer to clear or for credit to be posted.

Electronic auto payment systems don't relieve debtors of their responsibility to make payment, or excuse lateness, if the payment fails to go through in time, and the bank whose system fails is not responsible for covering the late fee, so this is the particular risk involved in taking this stance and waiting until T+0 to pay.

It is still advisable to pay early. You may lose a day or two's interest; however, by not paying on time you are taking a bigger risk.

Your payment might not go through. It may be declined; if it is declined, it could be either your error, your bank's, the receiving bank's, a system problem, or a delay in delivery of the electronic payment.

In most of these circumstances you will be responsible for the late fee, unless you convince your creditor to waive it.

For most payments the dollar amount of 'daily interest' is microscopic, and the '1 day late fee' is massive. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever to risk paying a $30 late fee, to try to get $0.005 extra daily interest over 3 days.

Sorry but doing that is gambling more or less (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356836)

If you take everything down to the wire to maximize interest, fine, but you are gambling the gains in interest vs the potential loss in terms of fees. If you are ok with that, fine, but then don't cry when you do get hit with fees and lose out. Personally I think the other way is smarter. I keep an amount of money in my non-interest bearing checking account since that is where all my transactions draw from. That way if there is a miscalculation there's no overdraw, no bounced payments, no fees. Likewise I pay things before the drop dead date.

Do I miss out on some interest? Sure, if I messed with funds all the time and tried to keep everything in savings till the last second I'd get a bit more interest. However it wouldn't take much in the way of a fee to negate any of that.

So I think there's some real validity to the GP's statement. Don't take things down to the wire, build in time to make sure if there's a glitch, there's no problem.

Re:Sorry but doing that is gambling more or less (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357072)

If you take everything down to the wire to maximize interest, fine, but you are gambling the gains in interest vs the potential loss in terms of fees.

You aren't gambling anything, you are making use of modern infrastructure and a service your bank offers. It is no more of a gamble than not getting up early just in case the bridge on your way to work has collapsed during the night.

If you are ok with that, fine, but then don't cry when you do get hit with fees and lose out.

Well, no, you shouldn't cry but simply tell your bank to pay the bills that resulted in their failure to deliver a service as advertized, and sue them if they don't.

I keep an amount of money in my non-interest bearing checking account since that is where all my transactions draw from. That way if there is a miscalculation there's no overdraw, no bounced payments, no fees.

If your financial institutions really are this unreliable, then I can kinda see why your economy collapsed.

Re:Sorry but doing that is gambling more or less (3, Insightful)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357184)

I don't understand your point. I pay my bank a bunch of fees for them to keep my money safe and available, otherwise I'd keep it under my matress. You mean that when they fail to provide me the service I pay for I should be punished for their mistake?

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356576)

The batch file stuff-up happened Wednesday, and up to 40,000 customers may be waiting until Monday to get things fixed.
By the reports, the compounding effects of the batch problems flowed through to Thursday and Friday. The bank opened some of its branches today (Saturday) so people could seek help (they would normally be closed in the weekend).

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356586)

RTFA

The problem was not that they "left it too late" - the problem was the money that should have been put into their accounts to cover the bills (from paycheques, etc) did not actually make it into the accounts.

If the money that was supposed to go in the account did not actually make it in, then they would not have anything to be able to pay the bills as they became due.

Keep in mind also that many repetitive payments, such as like credit card repayments, are often timed to come out automatically the day after payday - this is not a matter of personal decision, therefore not their fault.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (-1, Flamebait)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356602)

and it's normal not to have any money on your accounts and live from payday to payday?
okay, the banks made an error and should compensate... but do people really find it normal not to save any money and be screwed when the tinyest thing goes wrong?

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356676)

Perhaps they funnel the money to a seperate saving account and then use the money left over in their salary account as they need/please?
And sometimes those saving accounts only allow so many withdrawals within a timeframe.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356680)

Yes, many people do live from paycheck to paycheck. You've probably seen them but don't recognise them, they are the people who man the cash registers, cut your hair, keep your office clean, serve you drinks and food, cut your lawn, and take away your garbage.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357000)

And run your slashdot

Telephone sanitizers better not lose their jobs... (1)

wyoung76 (764124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357248)

Otherwise all of civilization will fall...

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356738)

How about this scenario - the way I manage my accounts.

When I get paid, I put aside a certain amount of money to cover whatever I need to pay in cash. The balance of my income goes onto my mortgage (I have a fee-free redraw facility available.) Everything that I can, I pay on a credit card. At the end of the billing cycle, when the credit card comes due, I pay it off using the redraw facility on the mortgage.

Doing things this way saves me 6.75% per annum on the amount that goes through my credit card. Which is a useful thing - it may not be a great deal of interest, but nonetheless.

So yes, it's very likely that I will have no money in my regular day-to-day account on a given day. I do live from payday to payday; my buffer is on the mortgage, which is the most tax-effective way to earn effective interest on it. If I need cash, it has to go through my day-to-day bank account; I can't take it off the mortgage directly. So if my account is hit by issues like this, I'm not completely screwed, but I could easily end up in trouble if it lasted more than a day or two, as is the case here.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357318)

I'll see your anecdote and raise you 1 reality.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

mab (17941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357406)

That how a lot of people including myself do it.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356776)

I don't know how normal or common it is, but it can happen.

A couple of years ago, my brother's business hit a rough patch. He asked me for financial help. I had a choice:

  • Either max out my overdraft and credit cards; or
  • Let my brother, his wife, and their kids sit in an unheated house in the middle of winter with no food

The former was financially irresponsible, but the latter would have been utterly inhumane. I did the financially irresponsible thing. If banks and financial institutions give you the option of credit there are times when you might find yourself availing of it.

For a long time I was living payday to payday because of that.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (5, Informative)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356814)

and it's normal not to have any money on your accounts and live from payday to payday?

For some people, yes.

Welcome to the real world.

okay, the banks made an error and should compensate... but do people really find it normal not to save any money and be screwed when the tinyest thing goes wrong?

Some people don't earn enough to "save any money". When 90% of your income goes in basic and essential expenses, being able to save even 10% is a luxury not always afforded should any emergency expenses come up.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357358)

But they have enough for $100 Nike shoes and $200+ dollar iphones?

Let's be honest here, the problem is as much their revenue stream as their ability to prioritize their expenditures. I have a tough time feeling bad for someone who spends a week's paycheck on a phone/gadget and about 10% of his yearly income on his cell phone bill. And while I feel sorry for my friend making near minimum wage and trying to support a family of four, he knows *exactly* who is responsible for that decision.

People (not just poor people, either) have unrealistic expectations for their standard of living: what they think they deserve commonly exceeds what they've earned. The fact that some people don't earn much to begin with simply exacerbates that problem.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (2)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356840)

Stupid fucking poor people! *shakes fist*

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356918)

Yes, in the real world people live pay check to pay check. Let them eat cake.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357348)

Welcome to the real world. Some people, in fact more people than you think, live like this. It's not due to not saving, but many other factors.

Take for example my in-laws. He use to have a great job at ChemCut in State College, PA. The downsized, and he (as well as another friend of mine) got laid off. His wife had a great job at a nursing home, but due to MS a doctor basically said with her knees the way they are and the pain of MS, she couldn't work. It took 3 years for her disability to go thru, so for a long while they were living off of the pay check he now received for his new, lesser paying job at Advance Auto. They had saved, and saved a good amount, but over the course of the 3 years with loss of income, those savings disappeared quickly, and an IRA (if they have one, I'm sure they do) is something you really don't want to touch or can't touch until a certain time).

Now for someone like them, if the bank Advance Auto used were to have a glitch around the payday time and he was unable to be paid, that would really cripple them. Worse if the state used the same bank for the disability benefits and neither of them had the money show up when it should, and even worse yet if they wrote out the checks for the bills and had mailed them because their due date was soon approaching.

Not all people, and like I said with the economy, more than you think actually do live paycheck to paycheck and are able to only save a little if any at all.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356608)

Really?

Well my payment from work arrives the last day of the month, my bills are due the day after.

So what you are saying is, at any given point everyone must have enough to cover all their next months bills?

Also, why isn't it reasonable to expect the bank to be online? I'm 29 years old, in the 10 years I've been taking care of myself, I've never had troubles with paying the bills just in time, been using online banking since about 2000 without problems.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (2, Insightful)

anguirus.x (1463871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356672)

Yes, any responsible adult will have enough in savings to pay bills/mortgage/etc. for *at least* one month. That will be impossible for some adults, but it is what you ought to try to save up at the very least. You should do just fine scraping by like you describe, but I hope you are able to figure out why it's a bad idea before you're too old to do anything about it son.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357070)

> ...any responsible adult will have enough in savings...

More than 50% of the children in my country will grow up in poverty. That's 50% will grow up beneath the poverty line. 50% will grow up in families that are unable to meet the bills on time. Over here, the cost of living increases at a notably greater rate than the median wage.

Hell, the last time my job got a pay increase was when minimum wage was increased this year. The time before that was two years ago, when minimum wage was increased. You can bet your arse the board members get increases every half hour.

And no, getting an education didn't help one little bit.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356700)

So what you are saying is, at any given point everyone must have enough to cover all their next months bills?

That is reasonable; you need to have enough money to cover your bills. It is excessively risky to dispose of so much money you don't have a reserve to meet your obligations. It is most advisable to have enough money in the bank to survive for several months, even if you stop getting paid at all (even if that reserve amount accounts for you having to cancel some services/spending such as Entertainment for the reserve to be sufficient).

A technical error with your bank is only one of many things that could delay you getting that payment, or delay that payment getting to your creditor.

Your employer could delay or withold your pay temporarily for technical problems or other reasons. Something might happen to you during the month, illness, etc.

The pay may not materialize.

If you can't even make a 1 month reserve in checking, time to change your budget.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

aamcf (651492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356800)

If you can't even make a 1 month reserve in checking, time to change your budget.

Some of us have dependants and we can't change our budget.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357034)

Some of us have dependants and we can't change our budget.

That might be true, but that would be your problem, not your bank's.

Obviously you cannot spend money you do not have. Either your budget will have to give, or you will have to find someone else to take on your dependants, who can afford them.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

aamcf (651492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357058)

I could afford to support my dependants. I couldn't support my dependants and build up enough of a buffer to allow for glitches from the bank and so on.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357132)

I could afford to support my dependants. I couldn't support my dependants and build up enough of a buffer to allow for glitches from the bank and so on.

A buffer will build up, as long as expenses are properly kept less than cash earned.

If a buffer is not able to be built up over time to handle financial emergencies like pay delay, then you can't really afford the dependants, either, because there is not enough cash to pay for emergencies or unexpected large single-event costs related to the dependants.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

aamcf (651492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357152)

Oh a buffer will build up. Maybe a few quid a month when things are tough. And that buffer can be completely eroded by something happening like say the cooker needing fixed.

What do you suggest doing with dependants that I can't afford, BTW? Feeding kids on alternate days? Dependants aren't things like holidays, cars, or computers that you can decide to purchase. They are people who are there whether you want them to be or not.

In an ideal world everyone would always have enough spare money to be able to survive for several months with no income. In the real world that doesn't always happen. Even with the best planning things can change.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357286)

Actually, at any given point, you should have 18 months' living expenses in savings for when your next emergency arises.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356618)

"National Australia Bank payments to customers were again delayed today after a computer glitch yesterday morning due to a corrupted file in its mainframe computer. Upset consumers are now demanding compensation for any fees for late mortgage and credit card payments,

If you have a payment due on X date, you wait until day X - 1, and something goes wrong and delays you by one day, this is your fault, not your bank's fault.

Matters would be different if there was a problem at day X - 7 that lasted for 7 days,
or X - 14 that lasted for 14 days.

It is not reasonable to expect there will never be any problems with electronic payment systems.
1 to 2 days is reasonable to sort this out, you are taking an unreasonable risk if you don't attempt to complete payment to a bill at least 3 days before the due date.

In other words, these consumers should get stuck with these late fees, and learn about a valuable lesson in
taking reasonable steps to ensure their obligations are met, even if something goes not quite as expected with the payment.

Yeah, I guess that's an option when you still live in your parent's basement and the most pressing payment is your latest Steam download or XBox live bill.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

aamcf (651492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356788)

Yeah, I guess that's an option when you still live in your parent's basement and the most pressing payment is your latest Steam download or XBox live bill.

Exactly. In the real world, adults often have scary responsibilities. On the one hand, you want to save for a rainy day. On the other, it is pissing down right now, and has been for several months. When faced with creditors screaming at you for money or kids screaming at you for food, any reasonable adult is going to feed the kids and worry about the creditors later.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356794)

If you have a payment due on X date, you wait until day X - 1, and something goes wrong and delays you by one day, this is your fault, not your bank's fault.

While most industries would _love_ it if everyone paid a day early and they got to suck on the interest, i'm keeping my money until the last minute. If my payment is delayed because of a bank error then it's the banks fault, not mine.

Maybe you are a bit older than me, but for pretty much the whole time i've been paying bills it's been electronic and it's never gone wrong, ever. We generally try and keep a bit of a buffer in the bank but I suspect that if we were with this particular bank it might not have helped... a bit of a buffer doesn't really help if your bank deducts your homeloan repayment (or any other major expense) an extra 3 times from your account or otherwise marks your account overdrawn when you go to pay for your meal at a restaurant.

That said, I get where your frustration comes from, there are plenty of people who could learn a few things about managing money, but second guessing a major failure like this is out of the scope of what I would call good financial management.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356846)

Actually they would hate not being able to charge the 150-200% of the owed amount penalties and late fees. I would love to be able to tell Payroll that since they had a glitch, and didn't get me my check till a day late they have to pay me extra. $30 fee versus $0.00001 interest? Sign me up for that.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356810)

If you have a payment due on X date, you wait until day X - 1, and something goes wrong and delays you by one day, this is your fault, not your bank's fault.

No, it's the bank's fault. To whit:

Matters would be different if there was a problem at day X - 7 that lasted for 7 days, or X - 14 that lasted for 14 days.

There is no difference between trying to pay at X-7 and trying to pay at X-1 and either failing, due to a bank problem. The bank is still at fault.

It is not reasonable to expect there will never be any problems with electronic payment systems.

Correct. It is, however, entirely reasonable to expect that the *bank* will handle any problems that result from their inability to process payments.

Rest assured, that if you are unable to pay the bank on time for some random and unexpected reason, that they will be unlikely to show you any leniency. The converse should similarly be true.

In other words, these consumers should get stuck with these late fees, and learn about a valuable lesson in taking reasonable steps to ensure their obligations are met, even if something goes not quite as expected with the payment.

My obligation is met the instant I schedule a transfer or payment with the bank's online system (assuming I have sufficient funds when that transfer comes due). While I can understand Americans who are still stuck in the stoneage of banking not grokking this, the rest of us have higher standards. When I schedule a transfer or bill payment to happen on a particular date, and it doesn't because the bank screwed up, that's not my problem, it's the bank's problem, as are any additional fees, charges, penalties, or whatever "I" might happen to be charged as a result of their screwup.

I hold my bank to the same standards they hold me. No more and no less. I pay them a (relative) fortune in fees every year, and for that I expect good service.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (0)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357062)

My obligation is met the instant I schedule a transfer or payment with the bank's online system

Well, legally that is not what has happened. You scheduled a payment to be made, and until the payment is actually made, as scheduled, the obligation is not yet met. You have merely taken an action that can be expected to meet the obligation; if that action fails, it's still your responsibility.

and it doesn't because the bank screwed up, that's not my problem, it's the bank's problem, as are any additional fees, charges, penalties, or whatever "I" might happen to be charged as a result of their screwup.

That depends on what you mean by "screwed up". If you 'scheduled a withdrawl' with the bank you owe the money to, and they failed to initiate the withdrawl as requested, then yes, they should waive late charges.

On the other hand, if you scheduled a "bill payment" on date X from a different bank that you do not owe the money to, and they initiated payment in their system, but it took them a day or two days to transfer funds, and the extra day delay caused you to incur a late fee, then No, the bank is not responsible, delays of that nature are to be expected, you are responsible, not either bank.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356834)

In other words, these consumers should get stuck with these late fees, and learn about a valuable lesson in
taking reasonable steps to ensure their obligations are met, even if something goes not quite as expected with the payment.

The obligation was that the customer would make the payment by day X, not that he would attempt to make it on day X-7 to pad against uncertainty. A "reasonable step" would be to attempt to make the payment on day X-1 instead of a few minutes before COB on day X.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357020)

The obligation was that the customer would make the payment by day X, not that he would attempt to make it on day X-7 to pad against uncertainty.

The point of having due dates in the future is to "pad against uncertainty"; otherwise, you would simply always issued invoices due tomorrow.

Instead, a reasonable amount of leeway is given by always issuing invoices due in 14 days or more.

When you receive a bill it is your responsibility to always make sure that it is successfully paid, before that 14 day grace period expires.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357104)

When you receive a bill it is your responsibility to always make sure that it is successfully paid, before that 14 day grace period expires.

And as others have pointed out to you, your responsibility is fulfilled the instant you schedule the payment through your bank. That's how modern finances work. If you don't accept that, you're free to attempt some sort of barter system with your creditors.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357204)

And as others have pointed out to you, your responsibility is fulfilled the instant you schedule the payment through your bank.

No. All you have done is scheduled with your bank a payment to be made to the other bank that your credit card account is with.

If the payment never gets made, for example, because you don't have enough money in your account, your bank sucks, and decides to just steal your money without paying the creditor, or your bank goes under and never pays, then you still owe the money to your creditor.

Payment remains your responsibility until payment is made.

Now, depending on your agreement with the bank you had deposited money with, they may have an obligation to pay the other bank, or (depending on your agreement with them), they might at their discretion cancel the transfer. However, both obligations exist until they are satisfied

If your bank you have the money deposited with fails to pay, your obligation to the other bank doesn't cease to exist.

If it takes them longer to perform the transfer order than they were supposed to, then your other bank can still create a bill for late fees and send it to you.

Your bank that you use for bill payment services might or might not have an obligation to pay late fees or reimburse you. It depends on the user agreement for the automated bill payment service; you are probably in pretty bad shape if they only delayed by one day, their lawyers most likely anticipated delays like that for "bill payment services".

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356848)

The thing you seem to be missing is that the bank fucked up in exactly this way. The bank didn't cover their financial obligations first. Why would the customers deserve the late fees and not the bank when both failed to meet their obligations and the bank was the root cause of it? Regardless of how stupid you think the customers' cash-flow strategy is.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357088)

Why would the customers deserve the late fees and not the bank

Because the bank the obligations are to are different banks.

People had bill payments setup on institution X's bill payment system to pay institution Y who the money was owed to. Institution Y has a right to charge the late fees and no obligation to give customers a break based instution X's flawwed system.

This is no different than if you mail a check 2 days before it's due and the postal service takes an extra day to get the item, so it arrives after the due date.

The amount will be credited the day it is received, and a late fee will be due. The postal service owes you nothing, even though they "screwed up".

The fact of the matter... you have an obligation to ensure you meet your obligations, including deadlines, while anticipating common obstacles, such as reasonable delays in postal service, and other services you utilize to send payments.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356858)

The biggest problem is things like automatic debits and rent/loan payments.
My rent for example goes out every fortnight as an automatic direct debit setup via online banking. If I was affected by this (I used to bank with the National Australia Bank but switched years ago) and my automatic debit didnt happen or there wasnt enough money in the account for it, the rent wouldn't be paid.

Same with things like my ISP bills and insurance (all of which are automatic debits)

And I DO pay all my other bills (power, mobile phone, home phone) as soon as they arrive.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

ischorr (657205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357004)

In my case, they managed to BACK OUT some inter-account transfers I made on Wednesday, which screwed up some things (after rent payments and other things).

At this point, I have a negative amount in my checking account (it's all in savings), with no way to move money into it. Attempts to purchase with this account or draw money from it fail, so I have no choice but to pay for things with credit card. If I get billed either credit card interest or any sort of debit fees on the checking account, it will be their fault, and not because I waited until the last minute for whatever.

But the worst thing is that people aren't getting PAID. Some people do live paycheck to paycheck, even if it's only occasionally.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357102)

In my case, they managed to BACK OUT some inter-account transfers I made on Wednesday, which screwed up some things (after rent payments and other things).

Reversing or rejecting valid transactions is of course a more serious failure, that the bank should provide ample compensation for.

Although, I think with clear errors like that example (which are much more severe than a 2 day delay in sending a scheduled payment) it might be time to switch banks.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357046)

If you have a payment due on X date, you wait until day X - 1, and something goes wrong and delays you by one day, this is your fault, not your bank's fault.

If you have a payment due on X date, and you leave orders to the bank to pay said payment at X date, but the bank fails to do so, it is clearly the banks fault. How could it not be? Also, if you can't access the money on your account at X day, then yes, it is also the banks fault.

Failure to deliver electricity is the power companys fault, failure to deliver water is the water companys fault, failure to deliver phone services is the phone companys fault, and failure to deliver financial services is the banks fault. Trying to blame customers for not expecting them to do a shitty job at it is beyond idiotic.

It is not reasonable to expect there will never be any problems with electronic payment systems.

No, it is perfectly reasonable to expect and demand that the banks, which have wormed their way to the heart of our economic systems, also deliver the reliability this requires, and pay the bill when they fail to do so.

1 to 2 days is reasonable to sort this out, you are taking an unreasonable risk if you don't attempt to complete payment to a bill at least 3 days before the due date.

No, you aren't. It is not at all unreasonable to consider the failure of the wire transfer system that handles nearly all financial transactions to be the same type of Force Majeure failure as earthquakes, hurricanes etc.

But then again, I'v understood that you UScritters still use the antiquated system of mailing cheques to each other, so I guess your mileage might wary.

In other words, these consumers should get stuck with these late fees, and learn about a valuable lesson in taking reasonable steps to ensure their obligations are met, even if something goes not quite as expected with the payment.

Paying bills days early (and losing the interest) is not a reasonable step. Also, it is not reasonable to hold people to their obligations but release the bank from theirs.

Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357180)

Failure to deliver electricity is the power companys fault, failure to deliver water is the water companys fault, failure to deliver phone services is the phone companys fault

And yet, sometimes power outages and telephone outages occur. I can just about guarantee, if you have a power outage or ISP outage and it stops you from logging on with your computer and submitting a payment for your credit card bill due tomorrow, the power company will not be willing to pick up the tab for you.

If you have a payment due on X date, and you leave orders to the bank to pay said payment at X date, but the bank fails to do so, it is clearly the banks fault.

That depends on if the bank actually promises you the payment will actually be made on X date, or if you just selected that date and "scheduled" it to happen then, meaning the bank will try their best to pay it on that date, but depending on their policies, your agreement, and how things go, it might take an extra day. Banks' "bill payment services" almost always inform you how much delay there might be, you should read the user agreement.

You can drop a check in the mail, and the post office generally tells you, it will reach its destination within 2 days.

If one time it takes 3 days, and that causes you to incur a late fee, that's your fault, because you should have reasonably anticipated that sometimes there is a delay in a business completing their work.

No, you aren't. It is not at all unreasonable to consider the failure of the wire transfer system that handles nearly all financial transactions

Hold it. Transactions scheduled on free auto bill payment systems are not full blown wire transfer orders. Electronic cheques are not wires; the service level is lower, they take longer to clear than wire transfers, and generally there is not a promise that they will be next day, so there is not a fee for them.

Wire transfers are something you pay your bank to perform. They are "ordered" by you submitting an order to your bank for a wire, which is different from using some bank system to "schedule your bank to make a payment for you".

Paying bills days early (and losing the interest) is not a reasonable step. Also, it is not reasonable to hold people to their obligations but release the bank from theirs.

The interest is insignificant, it solves the basic problem, and provides the consumer protection against unforseen circumstances and errors on their own part, it seems amply reasonable.

As for people who subscribe to bill payment service at institution X who failed to pay institution Y, there is no basis for cancelling obligations to institution Y, based on problems with institution X.

Whether institution X feels like reimbursing late fees to institution Y would depend only on institution X's actual obligations, and whether or not "errors on their part" are actually errors in light of the user agreement.

Their user agreement for bill payment services may very well allow for some possible delays in the timeline of transfer orders related to scheduled payments being created and processed.

Human error not computer glitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356522)

A person in NAB made an error while processing a batch of transfers, then tried to fix it and ended up ruining an entire batch, or about 1million transfers between accounts, and because NAB don't put through batches on the weekend everyone who was affected has no money this weekend.

Re:Human error not computer glitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356974)

I would think that they would have to have good protection against file corruption surely. It's a BANK. If people don't trust them they don't have a business. Human error would be far more likely, surely.

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356540)

....until now :-)

Re:Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356598)

Although it is still a truism in industry that "no one was ever fired for buying IBM," Bill O'Neil, the chief technology officer at Drexel Burnham Lambert, says he knows for a fact that someone has been fired for just that reason. He knows it because he fired the guy. "He made a bad decision, and what it came down to was, 'Well, I bought it because I figured it was safe to buy IBM,'" Mr. O'Neil says. "I said, 'No. Wrong. Game over. Next contestant, please.'" -- The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 1989 -- fortune

Hardest hit (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356558)

The pubs will need compensation since they'll be the hardest hit in all of this.

other banks... (1)

narkotix (576944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356580)

I know firsthand that at least the top two banks are not penalizing customers who either overdraw or are now subject to late payment fees.

For some Australians... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356634)

This will be the first sober weekend they have had in a long time.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356638)

... are out of cash because the world economy tanked.

Although, the Aussies do deserve some sympathy . . . I recently saw a documentary, which showed how many poisonous varmints and critters are trotting around there. I would be afraid to put my hairy ass into bed at night there.

Having no cash would be one of the least of my worries.

My favorite is some type of squid, who is tiny, but a sting of it will kill an adult human in about two minutes.

Yo. "When I say it's not safe to surf this beach, it's not safe to surf this beach, young Captain!"

Re:Meanwhile, the rest of the world ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34356720)

Just don't touch the red-back spiders or the brown snakes. First rule you teach your kids.

At least red-backs don't come into the house all that much.... ...but my favourite is the funnel-web spider - for a long time there was no antidote to its venom.....

I remember people people dying from its bite up until the 1970s.

Re:Meanwhile, the rest of the world ... (1)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357392)

My favorite is some type of squid, who is tiny, but a sting of it will kill an adult human in about two minutes.

I think you are talking about the blue-ringed octopus. They look pretty, but don't touch them! Actually what they do is completely paralyse your body so that you cannot breathe anymore. If you are lucky and someone else is around to help or call an ambulance, they can continue to perform CPR until the toxin wears off and then you will survive.

A fine opportunity (1)

thePowersGang (1726438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356674)

Ooh, maybe now they can fix up their terribly out of date computer systems! ... or, knowing any sort of big business, just kludge it back into a semi-working state and call the bugs "features".

Will be interesting to see if anyone switches bank (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356890)

It will be interesting to see how many people end up switching to another bank over this (either because of the stuff-up or because of the lack of communication from the NAB when it initially happened)

I for one am glad I left the National Australia Bank years ago. I no longer keep my money in the bank, I use a Credit Union :)

Mainframe: File Corruption? (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356998)

"corrupted file in its mainframe computer"

Do they honestly expect us to believe this shit?

Re:Mainframe: File Corruption? (1)

o2sd (1002888) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357110)

Do they honestly expect us to believe this shit?

Believe what you like, but you have obviously never worked for an Australian bank. I wouldn't be surprised if they said that they lost the punch cards. F*cktards, the lot of them.

Re:Mainframe: File Corruption? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357356)

The western world's financial sector runs on ancient clunky COBOL batch systems that have accumulated a horrendous amount of cruft and as a result are very hard to update. Fuck ups are common although they're rarely as bad as this.

No cash proposal in Slovenia (1)

DavMz (1652411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357172)

And a few days ago, there was a link on /. to the article of a Slovenian economist proposing to get rid of cash.
No cash + computer glitch = ??

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