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Bank of Ireland to refund €3m left in ATM machines

Over 40,000 consumers throughout the whole of Ireland who withdrew money from hole-in-the-wall machines but walked away without their money are to be refunded a total of €3m (£2,533,549) by Bank of Ireland.

The bank admitted yesterday it was paying back 14,000 of its own customers and another 29,000 people who are not customers of the bank but used its ATMs to withdraw cash.

In Northern Ireland, 728 transactions were affected and £34,721 will be handed back to customers here.

The refunds work out at around €93 (£78.50) per ATM cardholder affected.

Yesterday the bank insisted it had not overcharged people but that instead a minority of people had withdrawn money from an ATM machine and forgotten to take the cash with them.

Other distracted customers left their cards behind.

When consumers finish a transaction and walk away from an ATM machine leaving their cash or card behind, the machine pulls the money back in after a certain period of time.

The bank account will be debited, but if the money is not collected their account should also immediately be credited again, a spokeswoman for the bank said.

For four years up to October last year a systems failure at the bank meant that people who tried to withdraw money from an ATM but forgot to take the cash with them were not refunded.

People had forgotten to collect their money because they got distracted by a phone call or by their children, the bank spokeswoman said.

Eight transactions out of every million ATM withdrawals were found to end with people forgetting their money or their card, the bank said.

Bank of Ireland said this issue arose following the installation of anti-fraud measures, which resulted in the normal system response of an automatic refund failing for these particular transactions.

The bank discovered the issue during internal monitoring.

Asked about the error yesterday the Republic’s financial regulator said it requires firms to correct errors speedily, efficiently and fairly.The regulator said the process of reimbursement will be completed over the next few weeks and any customers who have concerns should contact the bank.

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