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3 Examples of a Fat Finger Incident

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Fat-finger is a term for incorrect user input that results in a major incident. It is an analogy to someone whose fingers are so large that they have trouble typing the correct keys on a keyboard. Although employees may receive the blame for a fat finger incident there are usually deeper causes of such issues such as poor processes, designs and controls that represent latent human errors. The following are illustrative examples of fat-finger incidents.


The classic fat-finger error is a financial trade into a liquid market with an incorrect price or quantity. In some cases, these two fields are swapped such as selling 10,000 shares for $1 instead of 1 share for $10,000. It is possible for a fat finger trade to cost an organization billions of dollars or perhaps to completely wipe out their capital. As such, systems are typically designed to catch these errors.


A firm mistakenly executes a dividend of $1000 a share as opposed to $1 a share.


A firm mistakenly pays employees a bonus of $1 million each instead of $1000 each.
Overview: Fat Fingers
An incident caused by incorrect user input that is not prevented by internal controls.
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