System error hits CommBank ATMs

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Updated: Two charged after glitch enabled customers to overdraw accounts.

Database issues at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia spread to more than 40 NSW ATMs late yesterday, allowing customers to withdraw “large amounts” of cash they may not have had in their accounts.

The ATM glitch was highlighted by the NSW Police, who warned that ATM locations were “covered extensively by surveillance”.

Two men were charged late yesterday after a police patrol allegedly saw a group of men "standing outside a banking institution" in western Sydney.

"The group were allegedly seen to exchange amounts of money between themselves before separating," Police said in a brief statement.

NSW Police alleged the two men were "found to be in possession of an amount of cash" when stopped nearby.

"It will be alleged that both men dishonestly obtained the cash by using a faulty ATM," Police said.

The Daily Telegraph reported the charges related to the CBA's ATM problems.

CBA systems

According to a Commonwealth Bank customer service representative, the bank’s IT systems were not properly registering ATM transactions.

Users were thus issued with receipts that erroneously indicated that no money had been withdrawn, and also allowed users to overdraw their accounts.

Citing information provided to the bank’s call centre staff, the bank employee said the glitch was related to a payment system outage at the bank.

Customers had been unable to transfer funds by NetBank, phone banking and BPay since 9am Tuesday, due to “routine database maintenance” that occurred overnight.

The bank employee said that it would not be “giving out free money”.

Commonwealth Bank had records of all withdrawals, which would be applied – along with any applicable fees – to customers’ bank accounts when the system was restored, she said.

Police said it was a criminal offence to keep excess money, which should be returned to the bank, according to Detective Superintendent Col Dyson of the State Crime Command’s Fraud Squad.

A spokesman for the bank could not be reached for more detail.

Twitter was abuzz with news of the glitch, with users reporting large crowds at the bank's central Sydney ATMs.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported the glitch was fixed by 5.30pm yesterday.

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