The scenario all business owners dread is the moment when their internet connection/phone line drops out and results in their card machine not working. There have been instances in the past where staff have accidently dropped a handset which has resulted in them having to look at alternative means to accept payments. Only last year in 2018, the UK and Europe encountered the VISA outage which had a massive knock-on impact to business owners and they had to source alternative means to process payments. In a society where less and less people are paying by cash, we will look at what you can do to appease staff to eliminate further problems when your card machine goes down.

Structure a survival guide for card machine failure

It sounds extreme, but a simple document with bullet points can help ensure that everyone has a rough idea of what to do and how to act. It is important for management to factor in any previous issues and how they were dealt with. Write down contact numbers of your card machine supplier, merchant acquirer and any other helplines. Check to ensure you have any technical support numbers at hand for out of hours contact. Make this clear and visible for all staff to access.

Provide customer service to alert and support customers

In the event your card machine goes down, it is imperative staff step-up to support paying customers. You could perhaps have a member of staff close to the checkout making customers aware that card payments are not currently being accepted, and advising of where the nearest cash point is. We would also recommend that business owners put up a notice near the checkout so customers can see this information clearly.

Reach out to your social media audience

In today’s fast paced society most businesses utilise social media to promote goods, offers and keep customers up to date. If you ever experience an issue with your business whether this relates to a power cut, your website going down, flooding or your phone lines going down, you can reach a big audience immediately by a simple Tweet, Facebook or Instagram message. You can also provide updates and provide information once the issue has been rectified.

Does your business accept AMEX payments?  

Most businesses that accept card payments generally only accept Visa and Mastercard. A few will opt for Amex but most don’t. Perhaps this is because your client base don’t generally request Amex and as a result you’ve chosen not to offer this. Although the uptake may be small, it is always good to accept as many types of card as possible. Primarily for the reason it increases the option when customers come to pay.

Why not accept contactless payments instead?

Imagine the scenario -your swipe device is damaged or faulty on your card machine and you are looking at alternatives to accepting card payments whilst ensuring customers are served quickly and efficiently. Do you accept contactless card payments?  The blessing in this option is you don’t use the swipe facility. The customer holds their contactless card over the card machine, it should light up and a receipt is printed. No hassle, no fuss and the transaction is processed in a matter of seconds. If you don’t currently have a contactless card machine you really need to look at a plan to introduce this to your business.

Is it worth investing in an iZettle or another mobile app?

iZettle and other mobile applications have become extremely popular in the last few years and allow business owners to accept cards using their phone and tablet with the iZettle application. To process a payment using an app such as iZettle, the business will need to be connected to a 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi network (which they will need to organise at their own discretion).

Is it worth investing in a flatbed imprinter?

The manual imprinter comes with a low cost outlay for businesses and provides a great infrastructure at times where business owners are unable to accept payments via their card machine.  You can purchase a flatbed imprinter from as little as £35.00 (exc. delivery and optional extras here)

It is the perfect addition for businesses who want to keep taking payments but may be encountering technical issues with their phone line or Wi-Fi connection. Sometimes it’s a case of seeing what is available at your disposal and making sure you are prepared as a business.

Your card machine is down what support do YOU get?

Any reputable card machine supplier should offer you ongoing support in the event of your card machine going down so be diligent and make sure you ask this question if you are looking at switching or changing supplier. If you don’t have the support when you need it, you are in essence costing your own business time and money.