July 28 2014 Latest news:

The shambles at the Royal Bank of Scotland group is going to take a few more days to be completely sorted out.

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Millions of worried bank customers – and not just those people who have accounts at RBS or Natwest – are looking for answers, and there is little confidence in the company’s claim that the corner has been turned.

I BANK AT NATWEST OR RBS

If you are one of the 17.5 million customers of RBS, Natwest or Ulster Bank, the group has promised you will not be left out of pocket.

If you are in a short-term dire situation, you can go to a branch to ask for emergency cash.

Although the bank has promised to do all it can to help, it might be worth taking as much evidence as you can. For example, your employer might be prepared to write a note confirming your wages have been paid into the system.

Branches were open throughout the weekend, and they will stay open longer for the rest of this week, too. There are also extra staff in the call centres.

If you have a current account and one of the group’s credit cards, you can withdraw cash and have any charges or interest waived or refunded.

WHAT ABOUT NON-RBS CUSTOMERS WHO ARE AFFECTED?

It’s not just payments to and from RBS accounts that are affected. For example, company A’s salary from RBS might not arrive in Person B’s account at Lloyds TSB, and Person B’s standing order to Person C’s Barclays account might bounce, and Person C’s direct debit to Company D’s HSBC account might then not go through, either.

In other words, there could a whole trail of bounced transactions and subsequent bank charges that need to be sorted out.

The banking industry generally will try to make sure no one is left out of pocket, for several reasons.

First, the root of the problem is clear – it’s not consumers’ fault. Second, other banks and building societies will not want to receive their share of the anger that is in the air at the moment.

Finally – although it’s unlikely they will say so publicly – there will be a number of institutions watching this whole thing unfolding and thinking “There but for the grace of God go I”.

The most important thing to do is monitor your account closely over the next few days.

If you have any problems, keep a note of the details and contact your own bank or building society as soon as possible. It should then liaise with RBS on your behalf.

WHAT ABOUT CREDIT SCORES?

The RBS group has said it will work with other banks to make sure credit histories are not affected.

This is an important point because a black mark on your credit score can impact your ability to take out future loans, credit cards and mortgages. It might even affect things such as new mobile phone contracts.

Because of the chain of events such as the one outlined above, there may be people who have never been near an RBS or Natwest branch in their lives who are affected by this.

The best thing to do is wait for a few weeks and then contact the credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax and Callcredit). This will cost you £2 a go (although there are often free trial periods for new customers), but it’s something you should do on a regular basis anyway as your credit report can help you prevent ID fraud.

If you spot any black marks on your credit history that are a result of the RBS fiasco, contact the bank or company that made the entry and ask it to amend it.

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