Hundreds of thousands of Capitec customers have been left out of pocket or wondering if they'd been hacked after banking transactions conducted in December 2012 were only processed this month. Charl Nel, head of strategic communications, said that 168,000 of Capitec's 4.5 million customers had been affected.
The delay in the banking transactions led some to believe that their accounts had been hacked or double debited and many queued outside branches over the weekend to query their statements.
In a statement, Capitec Bank confirmed that some of its clients ‘have experienced late deductions of payments for transactions made during 13 and 18 December 2012’. It said this was due to issues experienced by Absa-supported card machines at select retailers where the card system is integrated into its till networks.
Capitec added: “Capitec Bank acknowledges the significant inconvenience that this has place on our clients and we sincerely apologise. We are urgently investigating the problem and updates will be released as soon as possible. In the meantime, Capitec wishes to highlight and confirm that clients who were affected by the error made only one payment, not two as some social media sites and media reports suggest. Among those who had insufficient funds with which to make late payments Capitec will communicate directly to them to rectify any fees incurred.”
Irate clients raged on Facebook, Twitter and customer service website Hello Peter. Justmoney was also contacted and one enraged client said: “It just happened to me 30 minutes ago...R1300 out my account...in the four years I'm with them I've never had a problem before and I am livid to say the least. I have contacted them now. Service was good but I don't buy the 'merchants only did their banking and debited your account today' for transactions in December. This has never happened to me before whilst banking with them!”
Capitec has urged clients to contact their 24 hour call centre on 0860 10 20 43 or engage with them via Facebook for updates and information.
Nel could not make assurances about whether this incident could be avoided in the future but lay the blame squarely on Absa, saying: " I believe this is a question you need to ask Absa."
Absa said in a statement: “Absa experienced a system problem in processing card transactions from some of our retailers from the 16th to 18 December 2012. Only transactions processed through the Master Card International clearing system were affected.
After identifying the problem internally, Absa said the problem was rectified. “The transaction being presented now for debit to the client’s account is still a valid transaction, completing the original purchase transaction.
“In order to ensure that we make our customers’ lives much easier, measures have been put in place to ensure this processing error does not re-occur. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to all affected cardholders and Absa acquired retailers.”