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MasterCard customers hit by system failure

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Anyone wishing to do a spot of early Christmas shopping last weekend may have had trouble making a transaction with their credit card due to a technical cock-up at MasterCard.

A Reg reader contacted us on Saturday to say that the cash pumping giant had been hit by what appeared to be a sizeable technical problem affecting many UK payments.

Processing service provider Streamline reported on its status page that a "small number of point-of-sale transactions" had been affected by the MasterCard blunder.

Streamline reckoned six per cent of customers were unable to make payments successfully on 29 September, presumably a percentage that equates to thousands and thousands of transactions on Saturday – typically the busiest shopping day of the week.

We put a call into MasterCard to find out what had caused the system to fail over the weekend. In a statement, it said:

"MasterCard can confirm that due to technical problems associated with issuing bank submitted data, some minor delays occurred in the settlement of Maestro debit card transactions in the UK on 25/26 September 2007."

So, it would appear that MasterCard's technical problems were not isolated to the 29 September, but may in fact have been going on for nearly a week.

MasterCard said all debit card transactions for 25/26 September had now been "cleared and settled", however it remains unclear whether the issue has been completely resolved.

Streamline also appears to be uncertain about whether or not MasterCard has sorted out the cock-up. Its status page currently says: "We believe the issue has been resolved, but will confirm this with a further update to this page when we have confirmation from all parties." ®

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