Staff writer
Despite reports from Britain detailing Y2K problems with credit cards, Japan’s credit card companies, now in the midst of last-minute preparations, claim their customers have no need to worry.
Even before the clock ticks over to the new year, when Y2K problems are most likely to occur, some credit card reading machines across Britain rejected credit cards Wednesday because they failed to recognize the date Jan. 1, 2000.
Some British card reader systems are programmed to look ahead four working days when processing merchant transactions so as to ensure they are registered within the correct time period, which led to the problems with one company’s readers, according to media reports.
It is thought that Japanese credit card companies do not use the system that has experienced problems in Britain.
Although the nation’s major credit card companies will mobilize more personnel during the New Year’s holiday period than usual, they said this was merely a precautionary measure.
“We are just waiting to see,” said a spokesman for Jaccs Co. in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, “Basically we have made (all preparations).” He said only 20 or 30 of about 400 employees at the company’s Tokyo headquarters will be working at the turn of the year.
“There are things we cannot prevent until the new year actually kicks in,” he said.
An official at JCB Co., one of the nation’s major credit card suppliers, said JCB has been bracing for possible Y2K problems since Wednesday. He said the company is prepared to deal with all contingencies.
An official at the Osaka-based Sumitomo Credit Service Co., which issues Visa and Master cards, said the company will man 1,000 work shifts between Dec. 31 and Jan. 3 at its offices in Tokyo and Osaka.
“We will be ready around the clock to issue authorization for retailers and to respond to customers’ calls” he said, adding that the total shifts will include personnel dedicated to handling possible Y2K problems.
A spokesman for American International Express Inc., in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward, said the company is ready for 2000, and there have been no problems so far.
“We simply added a few more people to our regular shifts to staff the 24-hour service,” he said, adding that system engineers will be on stand-by from tonight.

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