Banks Focus on Psychological Aspect of Y2K Concerns

While the banking industry scrambles to ensure the Y2K bug is an insignificant worry come Jan. 1, 2000, the psychological aspects connected with Y2K are now surfacing as a valid concern.

First and foremost in discussions are automated teller machines (ATM), which have created worry among banking customers because they are one of the most commonly used technology-related banking symbols. Since consumers see the ATM as the machine that holds their money, some are concerned that the Y2K bug could reset their bank account balance to $0.

Based on a Gallup Organization poll earlier this summer, 76 percent of respondents believed their financial institution will have the Y2K bug under control. However, both banks and the government have distributed literature ensuring funds are safe, explaining, for example, that the FDIC insures U.S. savings deposits in the same way it always has.

Other groups, too, are reacting to customer concerns. The Electronic Funds Transfer Association, a trade group dealing with electronic fund transfers such as those transacted at ATMs, issued a report indicating ATMs will be in good shape.

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