Having your credit card machine stop working can be frustrating for both you and your customers. In addition to systematic outages from your payment provider, there are also a few things that can go wrong with the hardware itself.
Here are a few tips from us at CardSwitcher to help you troubleshoot these problems.
Power outages are a common cause of credit card processing outages. They can be caused by inclement weather, animals tripping over electrical lines, or even a human hitting a power pole. Sometimes a power outage is localized and only affects a business’s location. But other times it can be much larger and involve entire cities or regions.
When a power outage occurs, merchants should inspect their internal operations to see if the problem is isolated to their own business. Then, they can determine if the outage is more widespread or if it’s affecting the internet service providers or payment processors.
If the outage is due to a service disruption, it’s important that businesses work to provide alternative ways for customers to pay. This could be in the form of offering a cash discount or even giving away merchandise credits to customers that can be used at a later date. If the issue is a hardware problem, it may be necessary to update the software on the terminal to improve performance.
Card machines require internet connections so you can use 4G/5G, a standard broadband connection or even a leased line.
A card machine is a critical piece of equipment for most retail and food service businesses. So, it’s important to understand when something goes wrong.
There are a few common reasons that a credit card machine might stop working. The first is that there’s a software problem. This could be because the machine is outdated and a software update can improve performance.
Another reason is that the machine has a low battery. It’s important to make sure the battery is fully charged, as a low battery can cause the machine to decline or error payments.
Another common issue is that the card reader has a malfunction. This can be caused by a faulty card reader, or simply because the card machine has been tampered with. If this happens, the best option is to physically remove the switch (usually labelled ‘reject’ or ‘accept’) from the terminal. This will reset the machine and hopefully fix the problem.
Card Reader Issues
There are a number of issues that could occur with the physical hardware in your card reader. Whether it’s damage to the insertion area used for chip and PIN or contactless NFC payments, this can prevent your customers from paying you.
Like most hardware, the lifespan of a card terminal is limited. That’s why it’s important to keep up with power, wiring and cleaning solutions.
For example, a tripped breaker or electrical outlet can cause intermittent power to your reader. Alternatively, a dirty internal head or card slot can lead to chip errors and magnetic read error codes. Try cards from different payment brands to determine if you have compatibility issues, and use a crisp dollar bill wrapped around the card to clean it (E-How provides details on this handy trick). This can quickly improve performance in most cases. In more serious situations, a replacement may be necessary. Keeping up with these tips can help you avoid costly repairs and ensure your card readers remain up and running.
A business owner’s worst nightmare is seeing a “system error” message flash on the screen of their credit card terminal. The reason behind this type of system-wide outage could be anything from a hardware glitch to an internal issue at the payment processor.
These types of systematic outages can be tricky to identify since they are often caused by a third-party provider that businesses do not have control over. However, the main thing that merchants can do in this scenario is to check with the major card networks to see if they are experiencing any reported issues.
It is important to note that these issues are often due to internet-related problems whether it be connectivity issues or a general blackout. These problems can sometimes be fixed by a simple reboot of the router or a call to your provider. It is also important to offer customers alternative payment options during these times. This could include cash discounts or even merchandise credit.