ATMs across Taiwan crash due to 'mainframe error'

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Mainframe error hit Taiwan's ATMs Saturday morning.

Mainframe error hit Taiwan's ATMs Saturday morning. (By Central News Agency)

Automatic teller machines (ATMs) around Taiwan crashed Saturday morning and were down for two hours, crippling inter-bank transactions, the government-sponsored Financial Information Service Co. (FISC) said.

The problem occurred at around 7 a.m. due to an error in the information management system in the IBM mainframe, FISC spokesman Chen Chang-hsiu said.

The crash did not affect ATM withdrawals or deposits at the specific banks of the cardholders but halted the transfer of funds between banks via ATMs and online banking services, said the FISC , which is the central operator of such services.

It said cards also could not be used at any ATM other than those of the bank by which they were issued.

The FISC and IMB were able to fix the error and restore all ATM and online banking services by 9 a.m., Chen said.

The problem was not caused by any virus or hacker attack but rather resulted from programming errors in the FISC's IBM mainframe, he said, adding that the FISC and IBM were still examining the systems.

The effects on the banking sector were limited because the crash was on the weekend and occurred early in the morning, Chen said.

The FISC is still trying to determine how many inter-bank transactions failed during the two-hour period, he said.

According to the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), there were 28,771 ATMs around Taiwan as of June.

In that month, 73.27 million ATM transactions totaling NT$916.90 billion (US$29.77 billion) were carried out. (By Kou Hsin-yi and Frances Huang)