Verifone device in an Aldi Nord branch: It was easier for the large chains than for the small retailers to switch to alternative solutions
Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd / dpa
About a month after the large-scale failure of many payment terminals in German retail, a more precise extent of the problems at that time is becoming clear.
According to a survey of 800 companies by the German Retail Association (HDE), which is available to the dpa news agency, 22 percent of the companies surveyed were affected by the days-long failures.
Three quarters of those companies complained about lost sales.
Because of the problems with the payment terminals, many customers were no longer able to pay with giro or credit cards when shopping at the end of May.
Among other things, branches of Aldi Nord, Edeka and the Edeka subsidiary Netto were affected.
The background was a malfunction in the widespread Verifone device H5000.
"The disruptions that occurred a few weeks ago at many payment terminals were of an unprecedented dimension," said HDE General Manager Stefan Genth.
This was more than just an annoyance for many of the retail companies affected.
"Sales were lost here, and customers were extremely insecure at times."
The HDE demands transparency
Genth demanded that the terminal operators now have to work through the causes transparently and ensure for the future that such a complete failure cannot occur again through emergency systems or better internal security measures.
According to the survey, the disruptions lasted at least four days for 83 percent of those affected, and 70 percent of those surveyed stated that they had to do without the terminal for more than seven days.
After all, some customers were able to pay using alternative methods, including purchase on account, direct debit, terminals from other manufacturers or PayPal.
Cashless payments had received a boost in Germany during the pandemic.
The share of sales from card payments in stationary retail rose from 50.5 percent in 2019 to 58.8 percent last year, according to a study by the Cologne retail research institute EHI published in early May.