The Money Shot - digital daze

Cashpoint frustration
How on earth was Dennis meant to get home from the Dog & Hammer now?
"It’s not exactly the sort of stuff to fill customers with confidence"
  • | by Kristian Dando

We’ve spoken at great length about staggering human achievements which we take for granted.

Having fast and easy access to your cash 24/7, and the ability to pay stuff on your computer might well rank right up there with the greatest. Think about how much of a pain it is to go to the bank ‘IRL’. Then imagine if you’d have to do that all the time. Terrible, isn’t it?

Getting cash out of a machine, then, is generally something we tend to accept as a given. But increasingly, customers of RBS and its subsidiaries might be thinking otherwise.

On Wednesday night, the bank’s mainframe had a severe case of the screaming abdabs and went into a deep digital funk for a few hours – leaving thousands of customers unable to get access to their cash between 9  and 11pm.

This meant that hundreds of post-pub revellers were left stranded and unable to get taxis. Drivers were embarrassingly unable to pay for fuel on forecourts. Direct debits were bouncing like the fantastically named trampoline world champion Dong Dong.

RBS IT types finally managed to fix the problem -  but were left uhmming and ahhing into their Red Dwarf coffee mugs, unable to give an answer as to what exactly went wrong other than a ‘hardware issue’.

It’s not exactly the sort of stuff to fill customers with confidence. Not least because it was only in June last year that RBS’ systems decided to have a more prolonged and severe case of circuit knack, affecting 16 million people and provoking nearly as many outraged comments on the bank’s online ideas board.

Speaking of RBS, international darts circuit legend and governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King this week took time from throwing arrows to suggest that it’s high time the bailed out megabank is divvied up into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sections.

Possibly whilst feeling rather de-mob happy as he heads into his final three months of his tenure at the Bank of England – soon to be replaced by swoonsome Canadian Mark Carney – Merv set himself on a collision course with besieged chancellor George Osborne by suggesting that the bank be fully nationalised and then sold off.

“The whole idea of a bank being 82%-owned by the taxpayer, run at arms' length from the government, is a nonsense. It cannot make any sense,” he said, while hitting an effortless double-top. "I think it would be much better to accept that it should have been a temporary period of ownership only, to restructure the bank and put it back. The longer this has gone on the more difficult that's become to return RBS to the market.”

Are you fed up with your bank? Then think about sending them a clear message by switching your current account and taking your trade elsewhere.

SHORT CHANGE – THE WEEK’S MONEY NEWS IN BRIEF

The Association of British Insurers has ‘mooted’ plans which could see young drivers’ car insurance prices fall by as much as 20%, if the government decides to take up their suggestions. The catch? Learners will have to have a minimum of a year’s driving tutelage before they take their test.

On the subject of car insurance, there was a bit in the papers about whiplash – it’s thought to be adding £90 a year to car insurance prices

Energy firm EDF and the government are at loggerheads over a new nuclear power plant.

ON COVERED MAG THIS WEEK

Kristian Dando met the car club which lets under 17s get behind the wheel to see if a similar approach could make for safer roads.

Dan Bevis selected six game-changing hot hatchbacks from the annals of automotive history.

With Ferrari debuting the £1m LaFerrari at the Geneva auto show, Kristian Dando pondered daft car names – including the Mazda Bongo Brawny.

Top money scribe Felicity Hannah gave it to you straight on the subject of complaining like a journalist - with not a hacked phone in sight.

AND FINALLY...

Persian cat

The cat’s out of the bag! Six hours and 3,400 miles after getting in.

Mervat Ciuti, who lives in Cairo, took a flight to visit her sister in Nottingham, and planned on leaving her seven year old Persian cat Bisou - much like the one above - with relatives back home.

But unbeknownst to Mervat, the cat ended up getting in her suitcase, and was placed in the plane’s hold, along with hundreds of other bags.

Relatives rang Mevat to say that the cat was missing when she was halfway up the M1 from Heathrow to Nottingham, and her taxi driver stopped the car so she could look in the suitcase.  She expected to find the worst – a dead cat.

But amazingly, Bisou had survived the ordeal. She’s now in quarantine in Chesterfield and will be shipped back to Egypt in the summer. Awwww!

Join us NEXT WEEK for another THRILLING instalment of THE MONEY SHOT.