Santander accidentally deposited millions in random accounts on Christmas Day

A sign hangs from a branch of Banco Santander in London, UK, on ​​Wednesday 3 February 2010.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg via Getty Images

LONDON – Thousands of people received a surprise gift on Christmas Day this year when the European bank Santander accidentally deposited 130 million pounds (1[ads1]76 million dollars) in 75,000 transactions.

The error occurred when payments from 2,000 business accounts in the UK were processed twice, which means that some employees saw their salaries double, while suppliers also received more than they had expected.

The bank said that duplicate payments were caused by a “planning problem” which has now been rectified.

It is now trying to recover the erroneous payments, many of which have gone into bank accounts run by rival banks.

“We are sorry that due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate customers were incorrectly duplicated in the recipients’ accounts,” a Santander spokesman told CNBC.

“None of our customers were at any time left out of their own pocket as a result and we will be working hard with many banks across the UK to recover the duplicate transactions in the coming days.”

Reports suggest that the incident may have dampened the mood of some salaried employees on Christmas Day and Christmas Day.

“It ruined my holiday season because I thought I had paid out hundreds of thousands by mistake – I thought I had done something wrong,” a payroll official told the BBC. – I thought it was just me and that I was going to have problems at work.

The payroll manager added that Santander has not shared how companies should explain the second payment to employees or provided any information on how it should be repaid, according to the report.

Santander said that the process of recovering funds is an industry process known as the “bank error recovery process.” It added that they have started cooperating with other banks in accordance with the process, and that these banks will look to recover the unintentional payments from customers’ accounts.

It said it also has the ability to recover funds directly from people’s accounts.

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