Norway’s biggest bank, DNB, was plagued by more technical trouble on Thursday that also caused major problems for its customers. Every time they made a payment using their VISA debit card, the amount was deducted twice from their accounts, resulting in some customers seeming to have run out of money.
The trouble began last week, resulting in double charges on payments made from May 15-21. The bank thought the errant double withdrawls from customers’ accounts were halted on Wednesday afternoon.
Problems cropped up again shortly after midnight, however, with the extent of it so bad that DNB couldn’t handle all the complaints from alarmed customers. They were told early Thursday to use a credit card instead of their bank debit cards, and not call the bank’s customer service number since staff were overloaded and unlikely to respond in a timely fashion.
“We’ve been working all night,” Vidar Korsberg Dalsbø, a communications adviser for the bank, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He added that “all possible resources” were being used in an effort to correct the error, which involved the bank system’s failure to remove the reserve amount that’s immediately posted upon transactions. It’s supposed to disappear when payment is actually made, but hasn’t been, resulting in customers being charged twice.
That can quickly drain customers’ accounts. “This is first and foremost extremely unfortunate,” Dalsbø said. He stressed that DNB’s customers don’t need to worry about their money, because all the double withdrawals will be refunded, but it can be highly inconvenient if accounts appear to be overdrawn and customers aren’t able to make other payments.
He couldn’t say Thursday morning when the problem would be solved: “Since this is a problem that cropped up again, I have to be careful about making any promises. We’re working as hard as we can and think we’ll find a solution before the weekend. I can’t offer any exact point in time.”
Vipps trouble, too
Those customers who now appear to have negative account balances and thus face acute payment problems can either use credit cards instead or apply for expanded credit reserve limits via customer service, Dalsbø told NRK. Since DNB’s customer service was already deluged with calls for help, however, he admitted the latter would take “much more time than usual.” He urged all customers who don’t face acute payment problems to abstain from calling customer service.
It’s by no means the first time that DNB has been hit by technical problems. The latest batch of technical problems comes just after DNB’s mobile payment system Vipps broke down in the middle of Norway’s 17th of May holiday, causing more trouble for customers and vendors alike. Vipps, which also has had trouble before, further warned users this week of possible swindle attempts.
The highly profitable DNB, in which the Norwegian government is the largest shareholder, also faces a court order to compensate thousands of small savers who were charged management fees on investment funds that were deemed to be far too high.