How To Handle An Internet Outage

No Internet Connection Image

Written by our very own Jason Schenck, One Step Retail Solutions Implementation Specialist

Internet outages can happen at any time. Modern POS systems and credit card terminals depend heavily on the Internet and can have an impact on the business if connectivity is lost. There are 3 steps we recommend to handle an Internet loss if it comes: Plan, Prepare, and Execute.

PLAN: The best way to plan is to understand your specific business needs regarding Internet access. The first part is understanding how your POS system and network environment handle a lack of Internet access. Most POS can handle offline transactions so you can continue ringing sales but each has unique features. The next element is understanding if your business is largely cash versus electronic purchases. If credit, debit, EBT, or other electronic payment transactions are a large part of your business, extra setup may be required to handle accepting card payments while offline.

PREPARE: You have several avenues to explore when preparing against an Internet outage, depending on your POS software, network environment, and hardware. When you are preparing, ensure your system is setup optimally for your particular POS software. Once that is done, most systems can handle running transactions without access to the world-wide web, but you may not be able to take credit and debit cards (or other electronic payments). With proper preparation, you will, at a minimum, still be able to scan and sell the product, even while your Internet is down.

For instance…

  • Specifically, with Counterpoint, make sure you’ve paid for and activated offline ticket entry which syncs sales transactions to your server once the Internet is available.
  • Other POS systems, like Retail Pro, can store certain card transactions to be run when back online.
  • With other systems, you can do voice authorizations where you call your processor to put a hold on that customer’s card. If your POS does not store transactions, you can often go to the processor’s web portal and do a force transaction to complete the monetary portion. If this is not done, the temporary hold placed on the customer’s card will drop and you, as the merchant, will not be able to collect your money.
  • Lastly, if it is crucial to be able to take credit card transactions if the Internet goes down, you can purchase a commercial networking device (Cisco Meraki, for example) that supports the inclusion of a 4G access point as a backup. This way, should you lose Internet connectivity, the network appliance will automatically switch over to 4g so that you can still continue to accept credit cards like normal.

EXECUTE: To properly execute, start by establishing, documenting and then training on the identified protocol with your store managers and staff. You might even test your procedures to be sure you have everything in place.

We all rely heavily on the Internet to conduct our business. It is a virtual given that there will be a service failure at your store. Planning, preparing and then executing procedures to deal with Internet outages will keep your business running smoothing, with little to no interruption. Of course, you can always reach out to One Step to consult with you on the options available for your particular environment.