Banksys ‘cleared’ over massive ATM failure
15 April 2005
BRUSSELS – An independent inquiry into the system failure which traders claimed cost them 20 percent of a busy day’s business has cleared Banksys, the firm that runs Belgium’s network of cash dispensers and credit card machines, of substantial blame.
On Friday, news agency Belga reported that a combination of factors caused the breakdown in the payment systems of Bancontact, Mister Cash, Visa, Master Card, Maestro and American Express.
The report, carried out by the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), and commissioned by Banksys and traders’ associations, concluded that the failure on 4 December could not have been predicted.
The failure happened on the first Saturday of December last year, traditionally one of the busiest days in the Belgian shopping calendar with people stocking up on gifts for Christmas.
The Banksys network went down at a time when an extremely high number of card transactions were being carried out.
To make matters worse, said the experts, some customers removed their cards several times from terminals when the system did not carry out their request.
Getting the system up and running again was then delayed by the decision of Banksys to turn off the service which deals with manual card transactions for MasterCard credit card in Belgium.
For that “error of judgment” Banksys has pledged to pay compensation to traders who suffered damages as a result.
However, traders will have to prove that they indeed suffered financial loss in the afternoon of 4 December.
The problems started at 3pm when only half the total number of Visa transactions could be handled.
By 3.35pm, debit card transactions were taking longer.
Banksys stresses, though, that by 6.25pm Visa was back to normal and at 8pm MasterCard was restored.
Even during the worst period of the system failures 70 percent of transactions went ahead normally, stated Banksys.
“The measures put in place since then have considerably reduced the risk of seeing this type of incident happening again in the future,” said the company in a statement.
“However, the world isn’t perfect and prediction is not an exact science.”
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news