Nets islandwide disruption on Feb 2 due to 'human error during system maintenance'

A sign at FairPrice Junction 8 informing customers of the unavailability of Nets services on Feb 2, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The islandwide Nets service disruption on Feb 2 was due to human error during system maintenance and was not due to any systemic risk or security issues, the e-payment giant said in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 13).

"We have completed investigations into the cause of the incident and concluded that the incident resulted from an inadvertent human error during system maintenance which disrupted Nets EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) connection to our participating banks," said the statement.

Nets said such an error should not have occurred and apologised to all consumers and merchants who were inconvenienced by the disruption. It declined to comment when asked what action would be taken against the employee involved.

Nets informed consumers about the hour-long outage in a Facebook post at 2.27pm that day.

"Nets users will not be able to perform any Nets transactions (including point-of-sales transactions and top-up services) for the time being," it said.

Nets said that services were restored at 3pm that day, an hour after its services were disrupted.

Its services have since been restored and have been functioning normally.

The incident prompted the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to issue a statement later that day, saying it takes a serious view of all incidents affecting the availability of critical payment systems, such as the EFTPOS services operated by Nets.

"MAS has instructed Nets to identify and address the root cause of the problem, as well as to submit a thorough investigation report to MAS. MAS will review the investigation findings and take supervisory action, if necessary," said an MAS spokesman on Feb 2.

Nets on Tuesday said it has submitted its investigation report to MAS. It has also engaged an independent consultant to validate and further enhance its processes to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.

Owned by DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank, Nets runs the country's most ubiquitous and oldest system, dubbed Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale.

This 30-year-old cashless payment scheme lets consumers use their ATM cards for direct deductions from their bank accounts at some 100,000 acceptance points islandwide, including at Cold Storage and FairPrice supermarkets.

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