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1998-06-01 08:16:04


Credit Cards: Success Story



The one success story is the credit card industry. By spending hundreds of millions of dollars and starting early, the industry seems to have solved its 2000 problem. We will not know for sure until 2000.

Of course, if the banks don't solve their problems, the success of credit cards will mean nothing. An insolvent bank cannot issue a credit card. Neither can a bank with a locked-up computer.

This is from the Austin AMERICAN-STATESMAN (May 30).

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This unheralded success story is the result of a long-term, industrywide campaign to quash the so-called millennium bug -- an effort that has cost hundreds of millions of dollars and involved thousands of skilled workers. . . .

Last year, Visa barred its members from issuing Visa-branded cards with expiration dates of January 2000 or beyond. But now Visa has quietly lifted the ban. "The industry has turned around magnificently," said Sam Galdes, senior vice president of Visa U.S.A. . . .

As the deadline approached, the industry last year formed an ad hoc council to develop a coordinated plan to deal with the millennium bug. That led to a worldwide campaign to persuade vendors to upgrade their hardware and software so cards with "00" expiration dates wouldn't fail at checkout counters. . . .

To ensure that the terminals of its participating merchants can cope with the new century, the company has created a site on the World Wide Web entitled "Visa and the Year 2000 Challenge." It includes a comprehensive "Year 2000 Checklist" and answers technical questions about the impact of the bug on VisaNet, its global payment network. . . .

MasterCard has also set up a Year 2000 Web site to foster compliance.


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