Visa's announcement that it would be compliant in October, 1997, received a great deal of attention. Not in the news was the fact that the point-of-sale machines that make the system possible are nowhere near compliant. For that matter, neither is Visa. An article describing Visa's continuing problems appeared in INFORMATIONWEEK (Sept. 15).
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Visa has pushed point-of-sale systems vendors to make their systems compliant. Still, a Tec-America Corp. system installed over two years ago at Produce Palace International, an upscale grocer in Warren, Mich., is the focus of the first year 2000 lawsuit. Cards expiring in 2000 repeatedly crashed the system and its 10 cash registers, according to Mark Yarsike, one of the store's owners.
Vendor shortcomings are also plaguing Visa's effort to make its internal systems year 2000 compliant. Visa has 15% of its applications entering the testing phase. "Ease of use isn't there with the automated tools on the market," complains John McCarthy, VP for the year 2000 project at Visa, in Foster City, Calif. "We're reviewing tools but haven't seen anything we like."
Similarly, Visa acquired an IBM mainframe and dedicated it to the 2000 project, "but until the year-2000-compliant version of OS/390 software was loaded, we couldn't test," says McCarthy. Some tools and utilities for the operating system are still not compliant, he adds, "so we have to wait for vendors to provide us with them."