Retailers Say Use Plastic With Confidence In Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Saturday May 1 12:50 AM ET

Retailers Say Use Plastic With Confidence In Y2K

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The New Year's holiday weekend will be a fine time to go shopping with your credit card, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said Friday, with its members fully prepared for the Year 2000 computer problem.

NRF information technology expert Cathy Hotka said the trade group's members had rejected any suggestion they might only accept cash if store computers or the banking system experience problems because of the computer glitch.

``Retailers are ready to take whatever payment vehicle it is,'' Hotka told a press conference flanked by officials from banks and key electronic payment systems.

``We have a high degree of confidence in the banks,'' she said, adding retailers would still accept checks and could take paper impressions of credit cards if necessary.

The Year 2000 problem arises because many computers and their programs allocated just two digits for the year in dates. Unless repaired or replaced, these computers may misread the Year 2000 as 1900 or simply fail to work.

MasterCard computer manager Robert Reeg said stores would probably set an upper limit on credit card purchases if unable to use electronic verification of accounts. ``You may not be able to buy a car with your card,'' quipped Hotka.

Reeg said that by June, MasterCard will have tested its operations with the banks that represent 98 percent of its transaction volume for Year 2000 glitches.

America's Community Bankers chairman Lee Beard said a recent Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. report showed 97.3 percent of the industry remained Year 2000 ready after a second series of exams by the regulator.

Bank officials stressed that the safest place for consumers money at the end of the year remained in the bank.

They warned about increasingly frequent scams where people posing as bank employees phoned consumers seeking credit card numbers or asking them to transfer money because of Year 2000 concerns.

``Consumers should never give out financial information on the phone unless it's on a call they initiated,'' said American Bankers Association spokesman John Hall.

-- Norm (, May 02, 1999

Moderation questions? read the FAQ