United Kingdom: Santander distributes 150 million euros by mistake

On December 25, 75,000 payments made by business customers were mistakenly duplicated on the beneficiaries' accounts. Santander says the error was due to a technical problem, and is making every effort to recover the £130 million distributed in error.

Duplicate transactions in the UK

Santander Bank in London accidentally distributed the equivalent of 150 million euros to its customers' beneficiary accounts. Specifically, due to a technical problem encountered on December 25, 2021, 75,000 payments from some 2,000 of the bank's business customers were made in duplicate. The beneficiaries were mainly employees or suppliers of Santander's corporate clients. They therefore received their remuneration or payment twice.

In a press release, Santander asserts that " no customer paid out of pocket ", as the transactions were taken directly from the bank's coffers.

Santander bank "quickly identified and corrected" technical problem

The bank claims to have quickly " identified and corrected " the problem behind the erroneous payments, and is now making every effort to recover its funds. However, the transfers were made to several UK banks, which could complicate recovery.

According to The Timesnot all thebanks involved, including Barclays, HSBC and NatWest, are prepared to return the money, especially if it has already been spent. Indeed, this could mean overdrawing the account.

For its part, Pay UK, the UK's leading retail payment authority, says it has initiated discussions to arrange for payments to be redirected to Santander, and that some of the funds have already been recovered.

Proof that money sent in error will not be easy to recover: in August 2020, Citigroup had mistakenly paid nearly $900 million to cosmetics company Revlon and was forced to take the matter to court in an attempt to recover part of the funds. In February 2021, the judge ruled that the creditors were not obliged to return this sum. As a result, the American bank lost over $500 million.

The third computer breakdown in 1 year

Santander's British subsidiary is a major player in the sector, with 14 million customers and a net profit of over £1 billion for the first nine months of 2021. However, this is not the first time it has encountered such setbacks, as this is the third breakdown in the space of a year and a half.

In May 2021, several customers were unable to make payments for an entire day due to a computer breakdown. A year earlier, thousands of users were unable to use the online bank.