Y2k glitch causes duplicate credit card transactions

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Y2K glitch causes duplicate credit card transactions

The problems afflict retailers that didn't upgrade card-swipe devices that verify credit status

Friday, January 7, 2000

By Steve Woodward of The Oregonian staff

Y2K problems are causing a small number of credit and debit card customers in Oregon and worldwide to be billed multiple times for the same purchase.

Customers shouldn't see duplicate transactions on their bills, however, thanks to safeguard systems used by credit card companies to catch and delete duplicates.

The problems afflict an unknown number of retail merchants who failed to upgrade software that allows card-swipe devices to verify a customer's credit worthiness. Most merchants who use the software, ICVerify, have successfully installed the Y2K-compliant version since it became available last spring. Others opted to wait until it failed.

"We hoped that everybody would upgrade their software, but not everybody did," said Sydney Rubin, a spokeswoman for CyberCash, a large electronic commerce firm based in Reston, Va., that makes ICVerify.

"Last year, we did mailings; we sent e-mail; we even phoned some of them."

The problems are not widespread. CyberCash had received 50 calls from merchants by Thursday. Rubin said Visa International, MasterCard and other credit card companies pinpointed the problem when a "larger-than-normal number" of merchants reported trouble with the software.

In Oregon, Wells Fargo Bank has about 60 merchant customers that are having problems, said Tom Unger, a bank spokesman. He said the bank expects the total number of affected merchants to be fewer than 1 percent of the bank's total customer base.

Unger advised customers who see duplicate transactions on their bills to call the customer service phone number on the backs of the credit cards. He said Wells Fargo would waive overdraft or over-limit fees for customers who overdraw their accounts as a result of the computer glitch.

Bank of America Oregon had few details about its situation Thursday.

"We believe it may have some impact," said Rich Brown, bank spokesman.

CyberCash's Rubin said the affected transactions are repeatedly posted to the cardholder's account every 24 hours. Third-party companies that process the accounts have systems in place that automatically eliminate duplicates, she said.

Merchants can still update their software by visiting CyberCash's Web site, www.cybercash.com, or by calling a toll-free customer service number, 800-900-6133.

The problem can affect virtually any credit or debit card, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners and Carte Blanche.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), January 07, 2000


I'm getting the impression that Steve is drawing his material from this forum!!!

-- (squirrel@huntr.com), January 07, 2000.

This is NOT a "Y2K" problem!!!!!

It's a simple credit card reader problem.

Will you paranoids PLEASE try to GET A GRIP before you cause a PANIC??!?!?!?!?

-- Ron Schwarz (rs@clubvb.com.delete.this), January 07, 2000.


Tell CBC that.

"Canada Fri Jan 7, 4:39 pm

Y2K - Credit Cards

If you've been using your credit card since New Year's Day, check your bill. That's the warning today from Visa and MasterCard. The two companies say most transactions are going fine, but some merchants failed to update their computer software for Y2K and that could lead to repeated duplicate charges. Visa Canada says the problem is outdated transaction processing software. The maker of the equipment, CyberCash, offered its clients free fixes in 1999, but not all merchants took advantage of the offer.

The result, some merchants, mostly smaller ones, are charging their customers daily for a single purchase. And the billings just keep adding up until the software in fixed."

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), January 07, 2000.

So there WAS a Y2K scam after all!

-- (squirrel@huntr.com), January 07, 2000.

I was being facetious.

-- Ron Schwarz (rs@clubvb.com.delete.this), January 08, 2000.

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