Smokes cost US$23 quadrillion in debit card mix-up

New Hampshire resident Josh Muszynski was charged a little over the odds after a trip to his local servo to pick up some cigarettes.

A few hours after making the purchase on his debit card, Mr Muszynski logged into his account online only to encounter a minus figure 17 digits long.

Due to a mix up in processing the debit card payment, he was charged $US23,148,855,308,184,500 (around $29 quadrillion) for the smokes, and was promptly landed with a processing charge because he did not have enough money to service the transaction.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the error was corrected the next day, leaving the young man a few hours to appreciate his temporary position as the most indebted person in the world.

By way of comparison, total Australian public debt was around $121 billion in 2007.

It appears neither Bank of America nor Visa was inclined to admit responsibility for the error, with both directing enquiries back at one another.

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