Santander Bank has accidentally paid out £130 million to tens of thousands of people and companies in a Christmas Day blunder.

The High street lender inadvertently paid 75,000 people and businesses one-off and regular payments from 2,000 businesses with accounts at the bank for a second time on December 25.

The bank has been trying to claw back the cash with its own reserves after the issue was first reported by the Times.

The payments included wages or money from its suppliers.

The Northern Echo: Santander logo. Credit: PASantander logo. Credit: PA

Who has been affected by the Santander Bank error?

The cash was also sent to accounts at rival banks which could make it harder to get back, forcing the bank to rely on the kindness of others to help them retrieve it.

Account holders at Barclays, HSBC, NatWest, Co-operative Bank and Virgin Money are among those affected, according to The Times.

In theory, the cash can be returned but some have said that they are worried about the money already being spent as well as not wanting to push customers into their overdrafts.

The Times reported that one bank had said it would be reluctant to take the money back if it meant that an account holder would be tipped into their overdraft as a result.

The main payment systems company in the UK, Pay UK, is currently holding talks on how to fix the issue and has even recovered some of the cash already.

Santander is in talks with its rivals and is approaching some customers directly under the “bank error recovery” process.

A spokesman said: “We’re sorry that, due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate clients were incorrectly duplicated on the recipients’ accounts.

“None of our clients were at any point left out of pocket as a result and we will be working hard with many banks across the UK to recover the duplicated transactions over the coming days.”