At the bakery, in the department store, at dm, Rossmann or Edeka – consumers have not been able to pay by card in many places for a week now. The manufacturer is working on a solution, but this will take days. Netto and Aldi Nord reacted with an unusual measure. FOCUS Online says what you should consider and do when shopping.
“No card payment possible”: Several shops have been reporting problems with card payments for days. Because there is a complex software error, the solution could take days in extreme cases.
Where can I pay by card and how long will the problem last? FOCUS Online provides answers.
As FOCUS Online found out exclusively, Aldi Nord gradually began replacing card readers over the weekend. In the next few days, the exchange should have taken place in all affected branches.
The replacement of the devices was planned at Aldi Nord for the current year and was brought forward and significantly accelerated in view of the serious failure.
“While there is still no working update from the manufacturer of the card terminals in sight for the many affected retailers in Germany, Aldi Nord organized its own simple solution for its customers over the weekend,” confirms the press office. In the short term, all failed devices of the Type H5000 to be replaced by a new model.
Netto Marken-Discount also reacted at the weekend. The company announced that card payments are largely possible again throughout the branch network. This means that most customers can again pay by card there. The discounter market leaders Aldi Süd, Lidl and Penny were not affected by the failure.
There is a complex software error that primarily affects models of the card reader type Verifone H5000.
Apparently, devices cannot connect to the carrier to complete the transaction. After two attempts, this is then automatically considered “not approved”. An “X” sign will appear. A booking does not take place, the checkout process cannot be completed.
Customers should know: If the device does not work, nothing is usually debited from the account. It still helps to check the bank statements.
With other devices from the manufacturer Verifone, card payment transactions take significantly longer because the devices often cannot connect to the network operator on the first attempt. A connection is only established on the second attempt.
Verifone started rolling out an update on Friday afternoon. Older devices must be prepared “manually” for this.
Branch managers reacted as early as Wednesday after the first outages and ordered their employees to restart the cash registers. The desired effect did not occur. Giro, credit and other bank cards triggered isolated error messages and in individual cases paralyzed the entire checkout system. As a result, the affected readers were switched off. Since then, customers have only been able to pay with cash.
While Aldi Nord and Netto Marken-Discount reacted, other retailers are also trying to get card payments under control again. But the problem is too complex.
Individual cash registers in shops and entire branches of Edeka, Rossmann, V-Markt, dm and also a few Globus and Kaufland shops are still affected.
Not all cash registers are paralyzed at the same time in an affected branch. Retailers often use multiple card readers. At Netto Marken-Discount, for example, paying by card at the self-service checkouts works without restrictions.
However, there are also companies that are not affected by the outage. These include Aldi Süd, Lidl, Rewe and Penny. The reason is that the shops don’t even use the H5000 model in the first place.
There were also isolated problems in fashion shops at the weekend. For example, customers could not pay with a giro (formerly EC) card at some retailers, but could pay with a credit card. The problem persists. There are also isolated cases of problems in restaurants, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, boutiques and petrol stations.
As FOCUS Online learned, the technical error is complex.
The US manufacturer Verifone only responded to press inquiries on Thursday evening. Technicians should fix the problem as soon as possible. The company apologized for the inconvenience. A further statement is expected on Monday.
Leading payment providers in Germany do not believe in a quick solution. Payone speaks of a “manual intervention” that would be necessary to quickly get the problem under control. “Payone is promoting alternative scenarios in the form of systematic terminal exchanges and, where possible, switching to direct debit-based payment methods (OLV/ELV) for temporary bridging purposes, in order to enable its merchant customers to accept card payments again as quickly as possible,” explains the provider.
Competitor Concardis is also talking about replacing the devices. Appropriate dealers would be supported.
A Rossmann employee reported on Friday morning: “Our device was replaced on Wednesday evening. Everything has worked since then.” And an Aldi Nord branch also said on Friday: “Device changed at a checkout, checkout 3 can card payment again.”
The Verifone H5000 reader is one of the three most popular and most used models in German retail. The standard version looks like this:
There are no concrete figures. It is estimated that thousands of businesses will be affected by the outage.
For the next few days, take cash with you when you go shopping. ATMs are not affected by the outage. The general rule is: There is a high rush at the ATMs due to the card failure. This will intensify in the next few days because employers will then pay salaries and wages. So there could be longer queues.
FOCUS Online advises: At Aldi Süd, Lidl, Rewe and Penny you can withdraw up to 200 euros from your bank account free of charge. This is helpful if you want to go to the hairdresser afterwards and cannot pay by card there.
Ideally, take as much cash with you as you calculate for the purchase.
So you can take all the important groceries, drinks and drugstore items from your weekly shopping with you. Find out in good time whether card payments are possible in the branch. Look out for notices at the entrance and notices in the branch.
In principle, the affected companies use notices and displays at the entrance to inform them whether card payment works or not. If you have cash with you, read “Card payment is not possible with us”. In many cases there are also announcements.
In an Edeka branch in Munich it said on Wednesday and at the weekend: “Dear customers, we would like to point out that card payments are currently not possible in our branch. We ask for your understanding.” Customers will also find corresponding information boards at the checkout.
For example, they look like this:
Then you have to pay for the purchases with cash. If you don’t have enough money, the purchases have to stay in the store.
From a purely legal point of view, a sales contract between the supermarket and the consumer is only concluded at the checkout. If the card payment does not work and the customer does not have any cash with them, the purchase contract is deemed to have failed. The goods must then remain in the branch.
Basically, dealers are not allowed to keep the identity card as a deposit.
It is the worst case scenario for the German retail trade.
Anyone affected by the outage can only accept cash, losing customers as a result and also having to reckon with higher costs. It is possible that the affected companies now want to assert claims for damages.
The majority of German customers pay by card, smartphone or smartwatch. If you don’t have any cash with you and therefore can’t shop, you go to the competition or don’t make impulse purchases. A dm branch in Munich is said to have booked almost 10 percent less sales on Friday.
A higher cash balance also means higher costs for merchants. Money transport companies and banks then charge higher fees.
Food left at the checkout is also expensive. Businesses have to get the products back on the shelves quickly. In some cases, frozen goods and meat have to be disposed of when the cold chain has been interrupted for a long period of time.