It’s the time of year when money is traditionally tight, but for stunned shoppers in the city it was anything but after a cash machine started issuing double money.
The machine on St John’s Road began giving out £20 notes instead of £10 notes, and as word spread queues of people flocked to the cash machine last Friday evening, cheering as money was withdrawn.
It is understood that the pre-Christmas bonus happened after an employee put the notes in the wrong slot. A similar incident is said to have occurred with the machine on Tuesday, December 17, although only a handful of customers benefited on that occasion.
In the most recent incident lucky customers may have taken thousands of pounds from the machine in just a few hours before the bank became aware of what was going on.
An RBS spokesman said: “We are aware of this matter and are looking into the issue.”
The error was highlighted on social media sites and customers flocked to the machine for over two hours.
Scaffolder Lewis Adams, 18, got off the bus opposite the Corstorphine cash machine at about 8pm on Friday and said he was surprised to see about 30 people standing in a queue.
He said people were “cheering” as the machine spat out extra notes.
“There was people taking out £100 or £200 and getting £400,” he said. “Everyone was excited – it was Christmas come early.
“People were talking about getting Christmas presents and that it was a godsend. It must have got out somehow. Everyone was just telling their friends and there was a queue literally going around the corner of people just waiting in line for it.”
Royal Bank of Scotland has come under fire over its IT system in recent weeks, after a computer glitch at the start of the month affected more than a million customers.
Bosses pointed the finger at disgraced former chief executive Fred Goodwin for a failure to invest in technology.
Corstorphine councillor Paul Edie, left, said upon hearing of this Christmas windfall: “The RBS IT system is the stuff of legend at the moment. It’s quite a Christmas gift.
“All joking aside though, I would hope that those who benefited from this would be honest and inform the bank.”
He added: “This was the busiest Friday of the year for people going out so I suppose it was good news for local pubs.”
This isn’t the first time a city bank machine paid double. In 2006 hundreds of people flocked to a machine on Leith’s Great Junction Street. Up to £20,000 was taken, leaving operators Bank Machine Limited to foot the bill. There were constant queues for five hours, with some abandoning cars on zigzag lines to reach the machine.