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Saturday 24 March 2018

Bank glitch maxes out MasterCard users


A software glitch has put a kink in Christmas shopping for thousands of local MasterCard credit card users that won’t be resolved until the weekend, as transactions from as far back as October may have been double billed, maxing out credit limits and distorting balances.

Every holder of a locally issued MasterCard has been affected, banking sources have told Newsday, likely putting financial institutions on several customers’ naughty lists this busy holiday season.

The error originated with Republic Bank, while the bank was processing outgoing MasterCard transactions on December 11. These transactions are from other banks’ customers who used their MasterCards at Republic Bank merchant terminals. The error would have caused duplication of some transactions on MasterCard accounts of other bank customers on December 12, Republic Bank managing director, Nigel Baptiste said in an email to Newsday.

Because these transactions involved MasterCard customers from multiple financial institutions, the glitch that almost stole Christmas spread through the entire local banking network.

“Republic Bank submitted the necessary reversal entries to MasterCard for processing on December 12 at 5pm. MasterCard completed their processing and the re-distribution to the other Banks today, December 13, at 1pm. Once the other Banks process the reversals today customer accounts will be regularised,” Baptiste said.

RBC TT managing director Darryl White said the first customer complaint came in yesterday, and since then the bank has been monitoring the situation and working to mitigate the situation. Since the issue did not originate at RBC there was not much he could do but the bank is aware and will be reversing any late or overdraft fees accrued because of the glitch, he said.

A source at Scotiabank also confirmed the bank was affected, especially since most of their credit cards are MasterCards. “We’re getting some flack because it’s Christmas and people want to shop,” the source said. The bank will also waive any fees to affected customers.


Christmas shoppers swiping their MasterCard credit cards may be in for an unpleasant surprise when they check their balance. A glitch during a transaction between a local bank and MasterCard means that purchases from as far back as October may have been double-billed.

The issue started yesterday and has affected thousands of MasterCard holders, regardless of what bank issued the cards.

It is expected to be resolved by this weekend, Newsday was told. Any overdraft or late fees accrued because of the glitch will be reversed.


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