Home » Irish bank glitch let customers pull out large sums of ‘free money’—sparking huge run on ATMs
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Irish bank glitch let customers pull out large sums of ‘free money’—sparking huge run on ATMs

An Irish bank has warned those who took advantage of a technical glitch enabling them to withdraw more cash than was in their accounts that they’ll be liable for the amount taken.

For several hours on Tuesday, some Bank of Ireland customers found themselves able to pull out large sums from ATMs, with many mistakenly believing they were getting free money.

Some customers were able to withdraw €500 ($546) from ATMs using their Bank of Ireland cards.

Others were able to transfer up to €1,000 ($1,090) to other accounts—even if it was more than they had available—and then withdraw the funds in cash.

Bank of Ireland said the glitches were caused by a technical issue that was impacting a number of its services including its mobile app and online banking.

In a statement emailed to Fortune on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Dublin-based lender said the malfunctioning services had been restored overnight.

“We are aware that the technical issue meant some customers were able to withdraw or transfer funds above their normal limits,” the statement read. “These transfers and withdrawals will be applied to customers’ accounts today. We urge any customer who may find themselves in financial difficulty due to overdrawing on their account to contact us.”

The bank also apologized for the disruption caused by its technical outage, conceding that it fell “far below the standards our customers expect from us.

“The app may be slow today as we continue to catch up in processing payments,” its spokesperson added.

Police called in

As news of the withdrawal glitch spread, long lines to access ATMs were reported around Ireland, with social media posts appearing to document the rush to withdraw cash.

According to local media, the run on ATMs sparked a police response, with officers being deployed to prevent people from withdrawing cash.

A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána—Ireland’s police force—told Fortune on Wednesday that law enforcement was aware of “an unusual volume of activity at some ATMs across the country.”

“On a case-by-case basis, local decisions were made depending on the public safety and public order presented to members of An Garda Síochána,” they said in an email. “[We] remind people of their personal responsibility in carrying out their personal banking.”

Warning to cash-grabbers

Warnings to banking customers about their responsibility were not only issued by the police.

In a series of posts to the X platform (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday night, Bank of Ireland cautioned its customers that they should bear their account balances in mind before carrying out any transactions.

“We would like to remind customers if transferring/withdrawing funds—including over normal limits—this money will be debited from their account,” the bank said. “We are conscious customers may not be able to check balances, but should not withdraw/transfer if they are likely to become overdrawn.”

It also shot down a customer hoping to keep their “free money.”

Source: Fortune