The so-called “2010 bug” has hit millions of German credit and debit card holders after a software glitch meant that they were unable to withdraw money or make payments by card.

Around 30m “Chip & Pin” cards, around a quarter of all those in circulation in Germany, are believed to have been affected by a programming failure which meant hat microchips in the cards could not recognise the date “2010”.

The problem has immediately drawn comparisons with the widely anticipated “Millennium Bug”, when experts predicted that computer systems would struggle to adjust to the change from 1999 2000. Ultimately, those fears were largely unfounded as the millennium came in with only a handful; of minor incidents around the world.

French card manufacturer Gemalto admitted that it was responsible for the problems in Germany, estimating that it faced a €300m ($429.6m) bill to rectify. The company claimed that it was attempting a software update, but might have to replace the cards. Gemalto-manufactured cards in other countries were not affected but German customers attempting to use their cards abroad were affected.

Germany’s consumer affairs’ minister, Ilse Aigner, claimed that banks had been careless and insisted that consumers should not be held liable for any resulting bank charges.

Olivier Piou, the head of Gemalto, said: “We are doing our best to keep to a minimum the trouble this is causing for card holders.” He insisted that said Gemalto-manufactured cards in other countries had not been affected.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our top stories.

If you want to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, please submit the form below.