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Still nationwide problems with card payments

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Many retailers and petrol stations have not been able to accept card payments for days – the problem turned out to be complicated. In times of the “digital euro” being forced by the ECB, the downside of mechanization hits back hard.

Whether at large retail chains such as Netto, Edeka, Rossmann, Aldi – or at the gas station next door: Since the beginning of the week there has been a problem with card payments at numerous retailers and gas stations. Numerous customers are annoyed because they have overlooked appropriate signs such as “Cash only today – no EC payment possible”.

A quick solution to the problem is noisy not to be expected from the Handelsblatt on Friday. Accordingly, the payment service provider Payone announced that it will probably take some time before the failures in the affected payment terminals are examined and resolved.

Card readers of the type H5000 from the US group Verifone are the cause of the disturbances. The company plans to “soon provide a software update to fix the problem.” According to their own statements, they are working on a solution “with the highest priority”.

Payone also announced that according to the current status it will be necessary “to install new software updates on all affected H5000 terminals”. Verifone has not yet communicated when exactly corresponding software packages will be made available. The operational installation is also technically very complex.

Germany’s number one discounter, Aldi Nord, said it was in close contact with the card reader provider and was working with him to find a quick solution. A spokesman said:

“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.”

The oil company ExxonMobil announced that there have been massive problems with card payments at around 500 Esso gas stations since Tuesday morning. An employee said:

“Esso is in close contact with the station operators and technical partners in order to rectify the restrictions as quickly as possible.”

According to the Handelsblatt, the share of sales from card payments at the checkout in Germany rose to almost 59 percent in 2021. In 2020 it was still 56 percent, as determined by the EHI Retail Institute, a retail research institute. In 2017, cash still prevailed. However, the majority of Germans still prefer to pay smaller amounts in cash.

The failures come at a bad time for the plans of the European Central Bank: It wants to introduce the digital euro by 2025, relatively unnoticed by public opinion and the mainstream media, and gradually withdraw cash from circulation. A series of breakdowns like this would have serious consequences for consumers. In Scandinavian countries – where cash is hardly used anymore – there are now and then major problems for companies and consumers, for example when ticket machines are temporarily unable to process card payments because the technology is on strike.


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