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Credit card machine problem is US-wide too

A problem that hit Bermuda card swiping machines is also US-wide, it was revealed yesterday.

American credit and debit card machines made by Hypercom — as in Bermuda — shut down after they hit a built in expiry date, leading to chaos for shopkeepers.

Retailers at first feared a cyber attack — but Equinox Payments, who now own the Hypercom brand — confirmed that a ten-year cryptographic certificate used in the devices had expired on December 7.

Michael Rochette, of technology installation and support firm Spencer Technologies in Massachusetts, said the owners of the brand may have overlooked the problem and failed to warn users.

Mr Rochette said: “I've never seen this before where a particular product all crashed on the same day and as far as I can tell there was no advance warning about this from Equinox.

“Over the last few years, they were Hypercom, then part of Equinox then part of Verifone for a while, so I suspect there's been quite a turnover of personnel there and, frankly, they just lost sight of the fact that they had a pretty important expiration date coming.”

Equinox's Stuart Taylor said the firm was working with customers and distributors to replace the certificate to restore the terminals to normal operation.

Mr Taylor added: “Many of these terminals have been successfully updated in the field. Unfortunately, a subset of them can't be fixed in the field which means they'll need to be sent to our repair facility.

“We are working with our customers and distribution partners to track down where these terminals are and will provide whatever assistance we can to minimise any disruption as a result of this matter.”

The Royal Gazette revealed yesterday that machines supplied by HSBC had shut down in line with the US-based card readers.

A Bermuda retailer said his machine had shut down last week — causing huge problems in the run-up to Christmas.

He added that he had been told by an HSBC representative that 80 to 100 machines across the Island had been affected — with potentially as many as 300 in total at risk.

The retailer estimated he had lost thousands of dollars in sales since he was forced to tell customers they could not use their cards in his store.

The man, who asked not to be named, said he had been told that HSBC was flying in replacement machines — but that he feared he would not get a replacement before the final Christmas rush.

Government's Transport Control Department (TCD) has also been forced to stop accepting cards due to problems with card swipe machines, although a spokeswoman did not say if it they were HSBC-supplied.

The spokeswoman said: “TCD can confirm that it has been experiencing some technical difficulties with its debit machines today.

“The Department advised that it is working to rectify the matter to minimise any inconvenience to customers.

“However until the issues have been fixed, TCD has encouraged the public's patience and further advised that it is accepting cash and personal cheques for vehicle related transactions.

“The public will be advised once the technical matters have been resolved.”

An HSBC spokeswoman said on Monday that the bank was working to resolve the problem and providing replacement machines if needed.

Malfunction: It seems that swipe machines have expiration dates as well as credit cards

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Published December 17, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm)

Credit card machine problem is US-wide too

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