Bank of Maldives (BML) has implemented a temporary block on payments to ChatGPT, the AI-powered chatbot developed by OpenAI, citing concerns over customer data security. This move has left users of both the paid ChatGPT Plus version and the free version disappointed and worried about the potential impact on their daily tasks.

During the bank’s annual general meeting held on Monday, CEO Carl Stumka addressed the recent incidents involving leaked customer card information on certain websites. In response, Stumka assured shareholders that BML is actively investigating the matter and taking necessary measures to protect customer’s financial information. As part of these efforts, the bank will render the affected websites inaccessible for BML cards, he announced.

The decision to block payments comes as a blow to ChatGPT users, who utilise the AI chatbot for various tasks and rely on its prompt and accurate responses. Social media platforms have been flooded with expressions of disappointment and concerns from customers who feel the disruption will significantly impact them.

Meanwhile, OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, released a statement on March 24, 2023, disclosing a bug in an open-source library that inadvertently exposed chat history details. However, a subsequent investigation by OpenAI revealed a more critical issue. The same bug may have unintentionally allowed a small fraction—approximately 1.2%—of ChatGPT Plus subscribers to view payment-related information during a specific nine-hour window.

Specifically, before ChatGPT was taken offline, users had the potential to see limited details of another user’s payment information, including their first and last name, email address, payment address, credit card type, and only the last four digits of the credit card number, alongside the card’s expiration date. Importantly, full credit card numbers were never exposed at any point, assuring customers that their sensitive financial data remained secure.