For days, card payment terminals in shops across Germany have been bugging. Experts expected a longer-term problem. But the supermarket chains make short work of it.

The problem has occupied customers and cashiers alike for days: huge numbers of payment terminals from the provider Verifone refuse to accept EC cards. The exact cause is still unclear, but the manufacturer promises an update. Aldi, Edeka and Co. apparently don’t want to wait – and rely on new systems.

Replace instead of repair

Aldi Nord, for example, has now announced on its website that it will simply exchange the payment terminals for others instead of hoping for a solution. “Our goal is to be able to offer card payment again in all branches by the end of this week,” explains the discount chain. Until then, customers should continue to pay attention to the appropriate signs indicating whether card payment is already possible again in the specific branch or whether only cash will continue to be accepted. According to Aldi Nord, an already planned modernization was brought forward. “The gradual replacement of the card terminals was planned for the current year anyway,” said a company spokeswoman for the “Tagesschau”. Some stores have already been converted, the rest are to follow in the next few days. The sister chain Aldi Süd had previously used newer terminals and was not affected by the failure.

According to media reports, Edeka is also relying on a quick change. According to the company, only a few regions of the country were affected in the chain. “In most Edeka stores, EC card payment is possible again today. There are still some problems, but at least one functioning terminal has usually been set up in these stores, too,” said a spokeswoman for the “Tagesschau” on Monday. The discounter subsidiary Netto is also said to have made card payments possible again by replacing devices.

Cause still unknown

The cause of the failure is still unknown. A single terminal is affected, the H5000 from the provider Verifone. But again, not every device has stopped the service. According to “Golem”, the failed terminals are those for which an update from December 2021 was not imported. It is not yet entirely clear how many devices are affected. Although the device is no longer offered, according to the manufacturer, it is the most widely used payment terminal in Germany. Initially, an outdated certificate or a security gap was suspected as the cause of the failure. The manufacturer contradicts this, but has not yet given any other reasons.

In the meantime, the failure has also occupied the authorities. The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority BaFin told the “Handelsblatt” that the process was being investigated and the service providers concerned had been asked to comment. According to the “Handelsblatt”, the Bundesbank is also very critical of the failure. Due to its extent, it represents “a serious incident for card payment transactions. Although it is not of systemic importance for the system as a whole, this disruption can damage consumer confidence.”

Sources: Tagesschau, Golem, Handelsblatt