Banking Error-Systemwide : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Just got a letter from my bank stating they made an error in processing some trnsaction on my accout, and it occurred on June 30 and July 1. I called the bank and asked them what the problem was. The said that all transaction made by ATM and deposit transactions were double posted!! So, if you made an ATM transaction, it took money out of your account twice (bad for me). If you made a deposit, it entered it in twice (good for me). They said they fixed the problem. I asked her if it was a Y2K glitch and she said she could not reveal any information on what happened! Any other stories like this out there? I have no decided to quit using my ATM, quit all automatic deposits, and pay cash and money order on everything else!

-- Barb-Douglas (, July 12, 1998


For eleven years (1985-1996) I worked for Deluxe Data Systems (since renamed to Deluxe Electronic Payments Systems), primarily on software that either communicated with, or executed in, ATMs. I've spent thousands of hours testing on dozens of different models of ATMs.

(BTW, in case you're wondering, we used play money for testing and demonstrations. Each ATM manufacturer prints its own demonstration money - I liked the Fujitsu and NCR designs. NCR's "funny money" actually had mildly humorous stuff on it. :-) Diebold's and IBM's were "blah".)

There is no need to invoke a Y2K glitch to explain double posting of transactions. There are several types of mistakes that an ATM's hardware or software can make (and ATMs have internal sensors to try to catch those mistakes). Once in a while a mistake isn't caught until after it's reached your account. Sometimes it's the bank's fault, not the ATM's. Sometimes it's the network's fault.

It would be standard procedure for the lady at the bank to not reveal details on what happened - you can't infer from her refusal that it's Y2K-related.

My advice, in short -- ALWAYS request a receipt if the ATM asks whether you want a receipt. NEVER discard your receipt at the ATM. ALWAYS take your ATM receipts home and save them until after you've matched them up correctly with your account statements. And don't jump to conclusions about Y2K glitches - though it's possible, I'd lay heavy odds that the problem you encountered wasn't Y2K because I've personally seen several different ways to accidentally double-post, and none of them had anything to do with Y2K.

BD>decided to quit using my ATM, quit all automatic deposits, and pay cash and money order on everything else!<

My advice is not to panic. According to the way I read your posting, your bank found and fixed the problem fairly promptly, didn't they? Treat 'em by the same standards as you would've before you heard of Y2K. If they don't flub more than once every few years, and always correct promptly, they're as good as any other bank.

ATM - follow my advice about receipts.

Automatic deposits - if there's a Y2K problem, it's more likely to occur at the other end, with whoever's making the deposit. Your employer? Ask yourself whether your employer is Y2K-prepared - if your employer goes out of business, your problem won't be automatic deposits. An investment? Find out how Y2K-prepared is the organization handling your investment. Government payments? Let your government know that _their_ Y2K preparation will be _your_ top priority at the next election, so it'd better be their top priority now!

Paying by cash and money order - Abandoning the checking system is not the answer. Making it work - by telling your financial institutions, employer, and government to get on the Y2K ball - is.

-- Richard Woods (, July 13, 1998.


Your experience and backround make you the perfect one to ask about what has been bothering me since Galaxy IV turned it's back on the earth. Why did ATMs and Gas pumps in Calif. fail? If they depend on the net to function, would you expect the Leonid meteor showers expected on Nov 17, 1998 to have an effect on these services? Astrology might be out of your area of expertise of course, but assume that one or more of our 500 +/- satellites gets hit with the equivelent force of a .22 cal bullet.

-- Bill Solorzano (, July 13, 1998.

Richard: Thanks for the insightful and expert analysis of the flawed transaction that Barb-Douglas brought to our attention. Barb-Douglas thanks for asking the kind of question which was worth Richard's time to answer. Those of us not wearing D&G blinders are wiser now due to factual explanation of what many might perceive as yet another Y2k boogey man. Bill you obviously did not appreciate Richard's expert response so you changed the subject - that ploy won't prevent Richard's remarks from finding a permanent home in the minds of objective observers.

-- Oscar Swischne (, July 13, 1998.

Bill: My apologies. Upon striking the send button it occurred to me that I had not fully appreciated your question. This rush to judgement combined with my belief in term limits is reason enough for me to go back to the bleachers and watch the new and stimulating dialogue unfold quietly. Parting comment: your concerns could easily be the birth of a whole new thread. Good luck and God Bless.

-- Oscar Swischne (, July 13, 1998.

Richard.....It was all customers with this bank that experienced double debits and double deposits at the ATM machine or point of sale. Mine was at the point of sale (grocery store for instance). Thanks for explaining what could have happened, but this isn't the first time I have experienced this problem. I think that with the way things are going, that I want to be in more control of my money and not rely on the banks to get things right. I may still have a checking account, but with only minimal amount of money to pay bills that I cannot pay in person.

-- Barb-Douglas (, July 13, 1998.

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