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A new year bug has scuppered card transactions at thousands of Australian shops for four days so far, because systems at the Bank of Queensland say it is now 2016.

The glitch has meant most debit cards have effectively expired.

In the ensuing chaos, shops served by Bank of Queensland have been forced to introduce temporary manual workarounds, Business Day reports.

The bank has provided a code for merchants to punch into their point of sale machines, which tells the system to ignore the date. Others are using old hand-operated carbon paper machines to record transactions.

Bank of Queensland today said it is still investigating the cause of the problems with its EFTPOS system. Other Australian banks that use the same processing network have not been affected.

"There is an issue with the time and date stamp on Bank of Queensland EFTPOS terminals and we are working with our service providers, Keycorp and First Data, to address this issue as a priority," a spokeswoman told the The Age.

The Bank of Queensland supplies a total of 8,065 EFTPOS terminals. The spokeswoman said a "large percentage" are affected.

Separately today, AAP reports that an EDS worker has been jailed for nine years for stealing almost AUS$3m from Bank of Queensland. Reecson Wentworth Denford, 24, used his access as a contractor to the bank's systems to siphon off large sums over a 20-month period, to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Denford's defence said he had initially hoped his discovery of a loophole would impress managers, but admitted he instead used it to impress his "much older wife", who has now left him. ®

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