When the cashless society goes wrong

Around 2:30pm last Thursday, businesses across Australia were crippled by yet another Telstra outage.

This time it affected credit card payments, some bank accounts and EFTPOS payments. Customers were left unable to pay for their goods and services, and businesses were left out of pocket as they couldn’t take payments.

Of course, the majority of people no longer carry cash.

The outage, which was blamed on a higher-than-usual level of traffic in NSW, is estimated to have cost retailers $100 million nationwide.

So what can your business do to safeguard against such losses? Truth is, there aren’t a lot of options, but there are a couple.

One option, which was raised by caller Louise on last night’s episode of Let’s Talk Business, is to have a system in place where you take down all of your customer’s details on a form, get them to sign it, then process the payment manually when the system comes back online.

Another option would be to look at systems like Afterpay and Zip Pay, which were not affected.

A third option would be to establish a PayPal account for your business, which customers can use to either pay with their own PayPal account, or online via a credit card that is working at the time.

Otherwise, if you have an online store, you could ask your customers to pay that way.

However, the simple fact is that in an environment where we rely so heavily on technology for the convenience it provides, sometimes it’s going to crash and we don’t have much choice other than to wear the losses.

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