As the holidays approach, merchants are gearing up for increased sales by stocking up on inventory, promoting special deals, and trying to anticipate what could go wrong and take preventative measures. One of the worst things that could go wrong in both online and brick-and-mortar sales is for your credit card processing system to start flashing “system error” or “system offline” on the payment terminal or website. Your business experiences lost revenue for every minute your credit card processing system is out. No merchant wants to experience that!
What Causes an Outage in Credit Card Processing?
The system which transmits the customer’s credit card data to your merchant account is a payment processing system. When that system shuts down or is disrupted, payment cannot go through, resulting in a credit card processing outage. Any number of things can cause credit card processing outages, such as:
Internet Connection Issues
To find the root cause, you will need to troubleshoot internet connections. Most gateway and terminals require an internet connection to verify someone’s credit or debit card and process the transaction. Suppose you are not connected to the internet and have a newer credit card reader. In that case, your internet processing speed may be too slow to process credit cards. You can always try to reset your router or Wi-Fi signal or call your internet service provider to up the bandwidth or speed.
Suppose you operate during severe rain, thunderstorm, high winds, or icy conditions. In that case, power lines may be down, satellite service may be spotty, or there could be power grid issues in your area. If you can reach your power company, they can tell you if there are power outages in your area and provide an estimate of when they can restore service.
To solve the issue of possible power outages in the future, you’ll want to get a battery, or generator power source for your computer system, terminal, and internet router at your place of business.
If your power supply and internet connection are reliable, you may have issues with your specific terminal or processing device. If there is a hardware glitch or the machine isn’t compatible with the software installed, the card reader will prevent any transactions. See if there are any software updates you may have overlooked. If the problem persists after rebooting, contact your payment processor, it could be that you need to repair or replace your machine.
Steps to Take To Manage Your Business During a Card Processing Outage
Call your Credit Card Processor’s customer support line.
Your Credit Card processor’s support department should be able to let you know whether this is an outage that is affecting other merchants. Your processor will walk you through the steps and some things to check to get you up and processing payments as soon as possible. Payment professionals should be adept and experienced at dealing with various outages.
Communicate and Reassure Customers
Get out in front of the outage by letting customers know on social media, loudspeaker announcements or door signs that the outage is temporary and everything is being done to return your website or store to full functionality soon. Offer customers a one-day discount or promotional item for the inconvenience to entice them to return.
Offer an Alternative Purchasing Option
Depending on the nature of the outage issues, you can offer customers a mobile payment processing option using cell phone mobile apps to check out. Cellular data is often operable when electrical power lines or Wi-Fi does not work.
Consider offering the old-school method of Layaway or Buy Now, Pay Later installment plans in brick-and-mortar stores so customers can still receive their merchandise in return for a written promise to pay. Avoid asking customers to write down their credit card information and provide it to you as you risk breaching industry Payment Card Industry Data compliance security standards.
Offer customers a cash discount that is slightly below the credit price. This option allows the merchant to implement a zero-fee credit card processing program.
Finical Is the Leading Choice for Business Credit Card Processing Needs
Finical is a North American merchant service provider that offers leading-edge payment options to help grow your business. We provide products to minimize fees for credit card processing of all types of payments. Our systems are PCI-DSS compliant and secure, and all transactions are encrypted. When you partner with us, you receive the following:
- Free credit card terminal.
- Fast payment funding to your business account.
- 24/7 Customer Service.
- No Long-term contract.
- Transparent fees and pricing.
Contact us for a free merchant service consultation to learn more about how Finical can increase your business.