Telstra Outage for ATM’s and EFTPOS

So it looks like there was a big stuff up with Telstra and ANZ EFTPOS terminals in recent days.

Cab driver on ABC story

Now while this has nothing to do with our network, and wouldn’t have affected any of our users using wi-fi terminals, we thought it’s a good opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of backups. Rather than focus on the problem, let’s focus on the options so businesses don’t get stuck again.

No technology will ever be 100% reliable and as business owners, we have to perform risk management and identify single points of failure. I would argue that it’s only because this service is so reliable that we saw this issue. If it was failing regularly people would already have an alternate system.

If your business depends on EFTPOS for a substantial portion of your sales (and many do these days) just remember there are many reasons your EFTPOS could go down – not just network outages. It’s important that businesses think of risks and whether or not they’re prepared to take the risk that if something fails they have no alternative option for continued operation.

So what type of considerations would we recommend?

1. Some bank terminals such as Albert from Commbank work on both mobile and wi-fi. So that gives some extra buffer, but again the bank might have an outage which neither internet connection will save you from.

2. You could get a second Eftpos service from a different bank as a backup – for around $30/month. Again, how important is it to you – how much could you lose if it goes out?

3. You could sign up to an online merchant that has a low fee and you can do transactions on your mobile. This way if your bank goes out you can still take the payments. Square is a low cost alternative and you can either enter details manually, or you save a bit per transaction if you use the chip reader that you can buy for $29 or contactless for $59. More details about Square here.

4. You can just take the risk that it won’t happen often.

Then once you think about that, remember, having backup also extends to a range of technologies not so obvious, as the South Australia Correctional services have just found out when many offenders went unmonitored for 24 hours. We’re also unsure but suspect it may also extend to monitored alarm systems as many now rely on the mobile network rather than land line.

Potentially more to come…

– Damian