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Experts fear card blunder may have hit 200,000

THE double-charging blunder at Bank of Ireland may affect as many as 200,000 customers, experts said last night.

And they warned it could happen again. Revelations about the Laser card glitch, disclosed in yesterday's Irish Independent, have shaken confidence in banks' payments systems at a time when people are nervous about all financial transactions.

When asked last night, the bank, which has one million personal customers, could not guarantee the mistake would not happen again.

Some other banks admitted there have been cases where Laser payments have mistakenly gone through on the double. But they said they have not had any serious problems.

Bank of Ireland customers who used their Laser cards to pay for goods and services last Friday found their accounts were mistakenly debited twice each time they used the card for a transaction that day.

Many customers ended up with their accounts overdrawn in the next few days because of the error. The bank processes about 60 million Laser transactions a year. But on a busy day like Friday there could have been as many as 200,000 such transactions.

Asked about indications that far more than 120,000 customers were affected by the glitch, a Bank of Ireland spokeswoman said she had no information at the moment.

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