Man claims Commonwealth Bank app glitch left him with $123M in his account overnight

By @chelean on
Australia's Commonwealth Bank logo is pictured at a branch in Sydney, August 2, 2014.
Australia's Commonwealth Bank logo is pictured at a branch in Sydney, August 2, 2014. Reuters/David Gray/File Photo

A Melbourne resident had become a multimillionaire overnight, thanks to a Commonwealth Bank error. Matthew Pearce recalled how the bank’s app “glitch” left him with over $123 million in his account.

The 30-year-old glazier told 9news.com.au that when he opened the app in November 2015, he found out his Netbank Saver account reflected $123,456,789.01 balance. The figure was available for withdrawal or for transferral to other accounts.

“It [the app] actually gave me the option to transfer the money and BPAY it, so I could actively transfer money into someone else’s account,” he told the site. “I was pretty shocked about it. I actually thought they’d actually paid me the money thinking I was someone else.”

Since the million-dollar figure appeared in his separate savings account, he was still able to access his own money. He thought the figure must be a glitch when he realised that it was read as a series of numbers in numerical order. When he contacted Commonwealth Bank, a rep only laughed at his account and told him, “Oh, that’s great.”

The bank did nothing about the issue until two weeks later when Pearce got a call from its rep to claim it had been a “glitch in the system and it can happen sometimes.” The customer’s original account balance has since been restored.

The bank said it is investigating Pearce’s claims, though adding the CommBank app and NetBank “are working as normal.” Pearce said he decided to tell his story following a series of banking glitches that have been reported recently.

While Pearce had the sense to inform the bank of the miraculous rise to his account balance, Sydney student Christine Lee apparently decided to take advantage of the unlimited overdraft to her Westpac bank account.

The 21-year-old chemical engineering student was arrested as she was about to board a flight to Malaysia earlier this month for allegedly spending over $4.6 million from the overdraft. She opened her Westpac account in 2012 but began taking advantage of the banking error from 2014. She has been charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of the crime.