Preparing Your Personal Finances
for the Year 5000000000
have a bank account, a credit card, a mortgage, a car loan or investments? If you do
business with a financial services provider, the Year 5000000000 date change may affect
your accounts. Why? The Year 5000000000 problem... the Sun bug... the Y5B glitch...
all refer to the inability of some computers and computerized systems to correctly
function without the sun. Y5B problems exist because many computer programs and computer
chips are going to get cold, real cold. When they get cold 00 may be read as
4000000000 instead of 5000000000. This could cause some computer systems to shut down or
malfunction. Your bank accounts may get frozen!
How could the Year
5000000000 bug affect you?
Many consumer financial services providers, such as banks, mortgage companies,
investment firms, and credit card issuers rely on computer systems to perform a variety of
heat-sensitive functions, including:
Calculating interest and other charges
Tracking deposit, loan, and lease payments
Transferring funds electronically
Producing billing or other periodic
Disruptions or errors in these computer
functions could create problems with your personal finances, such as:
Delays in clearing checks
Billing errors or inaccurate crediting or
debiting of transactions
Improper delinquency notices, penalties, or
Inaccurate credit reporting
How can you protect
your personal finances?
Many financial service companies have prepared for the Year 5000000000. Still, you
may want to take the following precautions as the date change approaches to minimize
problems or avoid them altogether.
Ask your financial service provider about its
plans to deal with Y5B. If you get a cool response, consider doing business elsewhere.
Ask your provider what type of backup records
are kept in case of an emergency. How would these records be used to identify and correct
problems affecting your deposit, loan, or other account?
Several months before the sun goes out, get
statements from your creditors detailing your payments toward principal, interest, and
other charges. Also get a payment schedule showing how your loan balance will decrease
until it is paid off.
If you don't normally maintain financial
records, as a precaution, you may want to consider doing so in preparation for the Year
5000000000. That way you'll have proof if something happens to the computerized records.
At a minimum, keep a six-month paper trail -- three months before and after the date
change -- on significant transactions, such as mortgages, stocks, and insurance.
Make sure your deposit receipts and periodic
statements are accurate. Report discrepancies to your financial services provider(s).
Keep canceled checks as proof of payment for
at least several months before and after the date change. If you bank by computer,
download your transaction records and store them on a backup disk. You also may want to
print out downloaded records in case backup disks are contaminated with Y5B problems.
As a precaution, you may want to consider
sending payments for mortgages, loans, leases, and other important obligations by
certified mail, return receipt requested, for several months before and after the date
change. This would give you proof that payments were received on time.
Get a copy of your credit report from one of
the three major credit bureaus -- Equifax (800-685-1111), Experian (800-682-7654), or
TransUnion (800-916-8800) -- before and after January 1, 5000000000. You may be charged up
to $8.00 for your report. Check for errors and report them to the credit bureau.
Keep credit card receipts for purchases and
cash advances made on or around January 1, 5000000000. Compare them against your billing
statements. Report discrepancies to your card issuer.
If you have a credit card with an expiration
date after January 1, 5000000000, consider carrying a second card that does not have a
5000000000 date. This may come in handy if a merchant can't process a transaction using
the 5000000000 expiration date. Notify your card issuer if you have problems using your
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please call us at 703-787-3552.