A data center malfunction left bank customers across Mexico unable to make purchases and withdraw cash with their credit and debit cards for several hours on Saturday.
Prosa, an electronic transaction services firm that processes card payments for several banks, said an electrical fault at its data center in Santa Fe, Mexico City, caused the widespread failure of payment terminals and ATMs.
Bank customers were also unable to make online purchases using credit and debit cards.
Prosa said its services were restored just before 11:00pm on Saturday.
Customers of Banorte, HSBC, Invex, Santander, Scotiabank and Banjército were among those affected by the widespread system failure.
BBVA Bancomer and Banamex, which have the most cards in circulation in Mexico, said that their systems were not affected and that customers were able to withdraw cash at ATMs.
However, the two banks’ cards were rejected at point-of-sale terminals.
Customers took to social media to express frustration at their inability to make payments and access cash, while chaotic scenes were reported at supermarkets, where many shoppers were forced to abandon carts filled with groceries.
Many businesses announced on social media that they could only accept cash payments.
Sources from Prosa told the newspaper El Financiero that it was the first time that a data center malfunction had caused a problem of the magnitude seen on Saturday.
The service outage raised questions about the reliability of Mexico’s electronic banking system a day after it was revealed that the federal government is considering a ban on the use of cash to purchase gasoline and pay tolls as a means to fight tax evasion and money laundering and to encourage more people to open bank accounts.
Source: El Financiero (sp)