Glitch zaps some cash cards : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Glitch zaps some cash cards

By Mark H. Hunter Special to The Denver Post

Jan. 7 - ALAMOSA - When businessman Richard Nagley used his Liberty Cash card to mail a package from the Alamosa post office on Tuesday, the clerk's computer rejected it and he had to write a check instead.

The same thing happened Wednesday and again Thursday.

When Nagley asked why the card he'd been using since last January didn't work, "he quietly told me, "They're working on it,' like he didn't want anyone else to hear him," Nagley said.

Nagley's card wasn't the only one refused. There are more than 112,000 Liberty Cash cards in use from California to Florida, said Al DeSarro, a Postal Service spokesman in Denver. An unknown number of those cards, distributed from 2,800 post offices across the country, are affected, he said.

The problem is a software glitch with contractor First Data Merchant Systems, DeSarro said. He said it's not a Y2K glitch, even though the problem cropped up after Jan. 1.

"We're asking our customers to bear with us for a few days," DeSarro said. "We've been assured that First Data will solve the problem ... real soon." Pete Ziverts, First Data's vice president for corporate communications in Denver, said the affected debit cards expired Dec. 31 but should have automatically been extended.

The cards are not credit cards, but rather a "cash replacement card." Customers deposit from $5 to $300 into their account and when they replenish it, the expiration date is supposed to be extended.

The cards are advertised as "a better way to do business at the post office" in a Postal Service brochure. "It's more convenient than petty cash. And you can leave the company checkbook back at the office." Nagley, a computer consultant and representative for a San Luis Valley Internet service provider, said it's a good thing he took his checkbook to the post office.

"They are rejecting it because of the date," Nagley said. "Why is this not a Y2K problem? Duh."

-- Homer Beanfang (, January 07, 2000

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