Free money glitch!
For a wild few hours on Tuesday evening, a bizarre Bank of Ireland glitch allowed customers to withdraw up to 1,000 euros, or roughly $1,090 in US dollars, from their bank accounts, The New York Times reports — even if their accounts didn't have that much cash to begin with — without their account balances changing.
So, in other words: free money!
Well, for a little while, at least. In their official statement, the bank described the glitch as a "technical issue," adding that the error was corrected overnight, per the NYT.
The bank also warned customers that any withdrawals made during the time of the glitch would later be posted to their accounts.
But according to the report, those warnings didn't stop eager crowds of customers from lining up at ATMs around the island, with crowds growing so large that local police were dispatched to monitor the "unusual volume of activity."
The bank has since issued a statement urging "any customer who may find themselves in financial difficulty due to overdrawing on their account" to contact the institution.
In short, it was fun while it lasted.
Per the NYT, Irish Finance Minister Michael McGrath has asked the bank to provide a full account of what went wrong. After all, according to Reuters, the Bank of Ireland is the largest lender by assets in the country; if an institution like this is exposed to software malfunctions, it stands to reason that a different "technical issue" could wind up hurting a lot of people — possibly on a national level.
"Disruption to banking services can have a significant effect on people's personal lives and on the running of businesses," McGrath told the NYT in a statement, adding that Ireland's "growing dependence on technology for the delivery of financial services" is cause enough for a review of those services' robustness.
For its part, the bank isn't taking the situation lightly, writing in an X-formerly-Twitter post that it "fell far below the standards our customers expect from us."
Although, one could argue that giving out free money is going above and beyond customers' expectations.
Nevertheless, maybe let this be a friendly reminder that all technology — even the stuff that's embedded into our essential financial structures — can fail.
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