Glitch hits bank cards in Germany

More than 25 million German bank cards have been hit by a software bug that cropped up on New Year's Day, the country's savings bank association and private banks said yesterday.

The problem has hit cardholders trying to use cash machines or make payments throughout the country and abroad, stems from software unable to recognise the year 2010, and might take a week to resolve, the DSGV association said in a statement.

A global alert had gone out 10 years ago amid widespread fears of a similar problem, dubbed Y2K, which is linked this time to some computer's inability to recognize the year 2010.

Clients at two of the biggest German retail banks, Postbank and Commerzbank, have also been affected but yesterday a Postbank EC card functioned normally for at least one transaction, AFP noted.

A Commerzbank spokeswoman said only some of the bank's cards had been affected and that some of its machines had already been adapted to accept those in question, but did not provide detailed figures. Postbank declined to comment.

In addition, almost half of the 45 million eurocheque debit cards issued by savings and regional banks were affected, as were 3.5 million of their roughly eight million credit cards, DSGV said.

The association added that the bug, which it termed a delayed "Year 2000 problem", should be completely eliminated "by next Monday", January 11.

It has sporadically affected ATM cash machines and stores across Germany and abroad, but around 25,700 machines have been already repaired, DSGV said.

 

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