Businesses and shoppers were thrown into a bit of chaos at the end of May when Visa payments went down for almost half of transactions. It left everyone in a bit of a panic, particularly businesses that rely on card payments to run their businesses.
While we can only hope that something like this doesn’t happen again, it’s always important to prepare for the event in which it does. Here are some tips to help you decide what to do if your card payment system goes down.
Your staff might have been left in a bit of confusion when card payments were no longer working. For the future, it’s important to discuss a backup plan with all your staff so that the problems can be dealt with efficiently if they should arise again.
Quickly diagnose the problem
The first step to solving a problem is diagnosing it. It could be that Visa/Mastercard has gone down or the problem could be from you end. Check payment system websites and social media for updates to see if anyone else is having the same problems as you.
If not, it could be your card machine and you’ll need to contact your payments processor if this is the case.
Decide who will do what
In the meantime, you’ll have customers coming in trying to pay via card which can quickly become a mess unless you’re organised.
Try to assign someone to deal with contacting the payment processor, someone to log all transactions and someone to help deal with customers to explain the situation and offer reassurance.
Communicate with your customers
It’s important that customers are made aware of the problem in case they need to make alternative arrangements. Having signs up explaining the problem or asking for cash only will help anyone coming into your store.
If you operate online, a note on your website and an email sent round to customers will help to make everyone aware. It’s also useful to put something on social media too so you’re covering all bases and ensuring more people can see it.
Ask for different payment methods
If one goes down, it’s good to have back up in the form of being able to take other payments. Make sure you can accept all types of card including Visa, Mastercard, Maestro or American Express. Online, phone and contactless payments might be another alternative to offer customers.
Record all transactions
It’s vital that you record all transactions when payment is down. Record the customer’s name, the product or service purchased, time of purchase and payment method. You can do this on paper, a spreadsheet or via bookkeeping software. Once everything is up and running again, the details will need to be updated through the payment system.
The downside to telling everyone that your payment system is down is that it could inspire cyber-criminals to take advantage. They may try phishing scams with your staff, posing as payment processors or banks.
Make sure you and your staff are aware of this possibility and to be wary of unsolicited emails or calls asking for information on your business.
How did you deal with the Visa outage earlier this year? Do you have a plan in place in case it happens again or any other tips to share?
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About The Author
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.