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Fat-Finger Error

Definition

A fat-finger error refers to an unintended input or mistake made while typing or interacting with an electronic device, usually caused by pressing multiple keys or the incorrect key due to the size of one’s fingers. This type of error often leads to incorrect data entry or unintended commands. It commonly occurs on touchscreens, keyboards, and numeric keypads, particularly in financial and data-driven industries.

Phonetic

The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Fat-Finger Error” is: /fæt ‘fɪŋɡər ˈɛrər/

Key Takeaways

  1. Fat-Finger Error refers to accidental inputs or mistakes made while using a keyboard, keypad, or touchscreen, often resulting from fingers hitting multiple keys or the wrong key.
  2. This type of error is common in the financial industry and can lead to significant financial loss, unintentional trades, or incorrect data entry.
  3. To minimize Fat-Finger Errors, it is essential to implement safeguards such as confirmation screens, ergonomic keyboard designs, autocorrect features, and strict data validation processes.

Importance

The term “Fat-Finger Error” is important in the realm of technology because it emphasizes the potential for human errors in digital systems due to mistyping, pressing incorrect keys, or touching wrong areas on touchscreens.

These inadvertent inputs may lead to undesirable consequences, such as data corruption, financial loss in automated trading systems, or miscommunications in messages.

By highlighting this phenomenon, technology designers and engineers are reminded to develop user interfaces and error detection algorithms that take into account the inherent limitations of human interaction with devices and systems, ultimately improving overall usability, accuracy, and efficiency.

Explanation

A Fat-Finger Error primarily refers to the unintentional mistakes made by users while inputting data or executing commands within a software, trading platform, or mobile application. This term is often used in the context of finance and trading sectors, where even a small error could have significant consequences on the market and the involved parties.

The purpose of mentioning Fat-Finger Errors in these scenarios is to identify and safeguard against the potential consequences of human error in interactions with technology. To prevent and mitigate the impact of Fat-Finger Errors, developers and system administrators work diligently to integrate error-checking mechanisms, input validations, and confirmation prompts into their platforms.

For instance, a trading platform may prompt a user to confirm a large order before execution or include safeguards to notify users of typos and potential errors in their data input. By acknowledging the possibility of human error and proactively addressing it, systems can reduce the risk and financial impact of Fat-Finger Errors and provide users with a more reliable and efficient experience.

Examples of Fat-Finger Error

Financial Trading Mistake: In 2014, a Japanese broker accidentally placed an order worth $617 billion due to a fat-finger error. They mistakenly placed orders for a large number of Japanese shares without setting the individual share prices. The error was spotted quickly, and the orders were canceled before they could cause any significant market impact.

Foreign Currency Trade: In 2015, an employee at Deutsche Bank accidentally transferred $6 billion to a hedge fund client due to a fat-finger error. The staff member entered the gross figure instead of the net value when processing the transaction, which resulted in the staggering amount being sent. Fortunately, the bank discovered the mistake and corrected it the next day.

Stock Market Error: In 2018, Samsung Securities in South Korea mistakenly paid out $105 billion worth of stock dividends to its employees instead of the intended $

05 per share as part of a company-wide program. A clerical error caused by a fat-finger mistake led to the release of billions of shares to more than 2,000 employees. The company realized the error, and steps were taken to rectify the situation.

Fat-Finger Error FAQ

1. What is a fat-finger error?

A fat-finger error is a mistake made while inputting data, typically caused by accidentally pressing the wrong key on a keyboard or touchscreen device. This can result in incorrect information being entered, which can impact calculations or other processes that rely on the data.

2. How can I prevent fat-finger errors?

To prevent fat-finger errors, take the time to double-check your inputs before submitting them, and use software features like autocorrect or validation tools to catch mistakes. When using a touchscreen device, be aware of the size and spacing of buttons or keys to help reduce errors. In some cases, using an external keyboard can be helpful for preventing input mistakes.

3. How can I fix a fat-finger error?

To fix a fat-finger error, you’ll first need to identify the incorrect data input. Review the information entered and look for any data that is noticeably incorrect or appears out of place. Once you have identified the error, correct the input by replacing the incorrect data with the correct information. Be sure to verify other data inputs to ensure that no additional errors were made.

4. Can fat-finger errors have significant consequences?

Yes, fat-finger errors can have significant consequences, especially in financial and trading contexts where large sums of money can be involved. An incorrect trade entry or financial figure can lead to substantial losses and impact the integrity of the data. In other fields, fat-finger errors can result in incorrect or misleading information, leading to potential negative outcomes.

5. Are there any famous examples of fat-finger errors?

Yes, there have been several notable instances of fat-finger errors in recent history. One example is the 2014 incident in which a trader at Mizuho Securities accidentally placed an order to sell 610,000 shares of J-Com Co. for 1 yen each, instead of selling 1 share for 610,000 yen. This mistake cost the company an estimated $225 million in losses.

Related Technology Terms

  • Human error
  • Data entry mistakes
  • Touchscreen misalignment
  • Typographical errors
  • Keyboard accuracy

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