The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was hit with fresh technical problems last night, leaving Natwest customers unable to make online banking transactions, cash withdrawals or debit card payments.

According to reports, the problems started to hit at approximately 22.00 GMT last night and persisted for at least three hours. RBS said that all services were back to normal at 01.00 GMT, but some customers still could not gain access to their money.

This isn’t the first time the bank has suffered an IT ‘glitch’ that has left customers without access to their funds. Less than a year ago millions of RBS customers get money out of their bank accounts after a botched upgrade that was made to batch processing software CA 7 from CA Technologies, which impacted some accounts for more than a month.

It was revealed that it was RBS’ Edinburgh-based IT staff that were responsible for the systems failure, which contradicted earlier media reports that claimed a junior IT worker based in India had made the error.

A spokeswoman for the bank told Computerworld UK that it was “too soon to tell” whether or not the latest failure was a result of similar upgrade being carried out.

"We are disappointed that our customers have faced disruption to banking services for a period this evening, and apologise for that. All services are now running as normal again,” she said.

“If any customers are having continued difficulties please call on 0845 7242424 if an RBS customer or 0845 7888 444 if a NatWest customer so we can resolve their issues."

RBS has since revealed that the technical problems it had last summer are to cost the bank at least £125 million.

Customers of Natwest took to Twitter last night to vent their frustrations. 

Mike Shaw (@Mikedonnylad) said: “Well done #natwest for yet another example of your terrible service. Can’t even access my own money!”

Whilst Andy Windbourne (@awinbourne) commented: “Anyone thinking of switching to #natwest don’t! Services are down and can’t withdraw my money to get home, useless!!”

Since the problems over the summer, RBS’ chief executive Stephen Hester has said that the banking group may have avoided the major IT glitch if it had focused more on keeping its existing systems up-to-date, rather than developing new systems.

“RBS has seen a big mushrooming in spending on technology. With hindsight maybe a bit more of that increase in spend should have been in the core, taken-for-granted systems that work every day,” said Hester.

“Some of our focus was on the new things people want.”