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1997-11-04 08:59:33


VISA: Problems in Great Britain



Visa and MasteCard say they are 2000-compliant. But there is more to credit card compliance than the compliance of the card company's software. There are also the point of sale (POS) terminal and the bank that issued the card. They will not know for sure about the banks' situation until 2000. Meanwhile, there are millions of POS terminals. They are not all compliant. They still run on DOS in many cases. These must be updated. This will take years. Meanwhile, the use of the cards gets problematical. Will they work or won't they? In this case, they wouldn't.

This appeared in the London DAILY TELEGRAPH (Nov. 1).

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Two weeks ago two Daily Telegraph readers, David and Haide Partridge, tried to pay for their shopping in the Calais branch of the Carrefour hypermarket. The electronic readers rejected their newly issued Barclaycard Visa cards because the expiry date was given as 00 (for the year 2000).

They had no other means of paying and had to leave all their shopping behind. "It was very frustrating as we'd taken the day off work to come over to Calais," said Mrs Partridge. "We phoned Barclaycard when we got home. They said they would register the complaint but couldn't do more."

Ian Gatherum, a spokesman for Visa, said that all UK banks and building societies that issued its cards were given the go-ahead to start replacing expired cards with a year 2000 expiry date from the beginning of last month. The company was confident that problems had been ironed out. But he admitted that some computers could still be reading the 00 date as 1900 instead of 2000: "Across the world there may be a few terminals which still need updating. We shall be talking to our member banks in France to assess why this card holder was unsuccessful in that particular transaction."


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