Not Even Blackout Can Slow E-Paydays

The head of the electronic payments association says workers who get paid electronically will experience no problems getting their money.
For many New Yorkers, a long, hot Thursday caused by the worst blackout in North America's history is being followed by an even more depressing prospect: a Friday, 15th-of-the-month payday with no paycheck. But those who get paid electronically--or who pay their bills online--will experience no problems, says Michael Herd at NACHA, the electronic payments association.

With many offices still closed and overnight delivery of paper checks spotty, "The ACH payments network is open and running, and the organizations that handle electronic payments report that overnight processing went according to schedule," he reports. Some of that processing is handled in the New York metropolitan area, but financial institutions and payment clearing houses "have had contingency plans and backup power generators for decades"--long before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, or the MSBlast worm. "They plan for these things, they practice, they come in on weekends and role-play," he says--though he won't comment on where the back-up centers are located, or even the name of the cities.

Still, Herd was in a good mood on Friday morning. East Coast workers being paid by direct deposit were finding their money waiting for them--or at least most of it. And if they ordered a bill to be paid online Friday, it's already gone through.

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