At the end of May, many retail payment terminals failed, and at times customers were unable to pay with giro or credit cards. Now the trade is demanding a refurbishment.

About a month after the large-scale failure of many payment terminals in German retail, a more precise extent of the problems at that time is becoming clear. According to a survey by the German Retail Association (HDE) among 800 trading companies, which is available to the German Press Agency, 22 percent of the companies surveyed were affected by the days-long failures. Three quarters of them complained about lost sales.

Aldi Nord, Edeka and Netto sent customers home

Due to the failure of the payment terminals, many customers were no longer able to pay with giro or credit cards when shopping at the end of May. Among other things, branches of Aldi Nord, Edeka or the Edeka subsidiary Netto were affected. The background was a malfunction in the widespread Verifone device H5000.

“The disruptions that occurred a few weeks ago at many payment terminals were of an unprecedented dimension,” said HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth. This was more than just an annoyance for many of the retail companies affected. “Sales were lost here, and customers were extremely unsettled at times.”

Genth demanded that the terminal operators now have to work through the causes transparently and ensure for the future that such a complete failure cannot happen again through emergency systems or better internal security measures.

Also read: Radical solution to card chaos: “We want to be able to offer card payment in all branches by the end of the week”

More than a week without a card terminal

According to the survey, the disruptions lasted at least four days for 83 percent of those affected, and 70 percent of those surveyed stated that they had to be without the terminal for more than seven days. After all, some customers were able to pay using alternative methods, including purchase on account, direct debit, terminals from other manufacturers or PayPal.

Cashless payments have received a boost in Germany during the pandemic. The share of sales from card payments in stationary retail increased from 50.5 percent in 2019 to 58.8 percent last year, according to a study by the Cologne retail research institute EHI published in early May.