30 Million German Bank Cards Almost Fixed

As I mentioned a few days ago, some 2010 date problems hit various electronic systems and devices in different parts of the world on New Years Day. One Risk Factor reader noted that Germany likely experienced the greatest date-related problem because software in a security microchip used in 30 million German bank cards was unable to recognize the date 2010.

As a result, bank card holders weren't able to use their cash cards or credit cards at automated teller machines and point-of-sale terminals from the 1st until the 8th of January 2010.

The German banks whose cards were affected have been trying to reprogram them on-the-fly whenever their customers attempt to use their cards again, say at an ATM machine. However, there are still reports that while the software fix seems to be working for the cards when they are used in Germany, the fix doesn't guarantee that the cards will work outside the country.

The Wall Street Journal reported that at least one bank, Commerzbank AG, has decided to replace any customer's card that won't work outside of Germany.

According to this story in DW-World.de, "The blame for the card malfunctions has been placed on the French manufacturer of the cards, Gemalto. In Paris, the CGT trade union said the company had overworked the staff at its factory in Filderstadt, Germany. It also claimed that staff at a software development center near Marseilles had also been told to cut costs."

There is no word on how long it will be before all the cards are fixed or replaced.

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