Woolworths, Caltex and other major retailers and banks suffered a major setback on Thursday afternoon when a widespread Telstra outage meant they were unable to take electronic payments for a number of hours.
The outage meant that customers could not use real time payments such as tap-and-go but manual card payments could be taken.
At 4.05pm on Thursday, Caltex Australia took to Twitter to inform customers of the difficulties.
“Due to the current Telstra outage we are experiencing challenges with EFTPOS payments in stores nationwide and are unable to receive calls to our contact centre,” the company said in a tweet.
A Woolworths spokesperson told Inside Retailthat its services were impacted for a number of hours.
“As a result of a Telstra network issue the electronic payment systems in our stores were impacted for a few hours yesterday afternoon,” the spokesperson said.
Woolworths confirmed that it “continued to trade during this time” as it was able to process EFTPOS payments while offline. But many customers reported on Twitter that they needed to pay in cash at some stores.
On Friday morning, the retailer told Inside Retailthat its “systems are now back online and normal service has resumed”.
“We’re sorry for the inconvenience the outage caused customers shopping with us yesterday afternoon,” the spokesperson added.
According to media reports, Australia Post, Coles, Big W, Dan Murphy’s and BWS were also impacted by the outage.
By about 7pm on Thursday evening, Telstra reported that most services were being restored.
Inside Retailcontacted Telstra to inquire as to what caused the outage but did not receive a response ahead of publication.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Telstra as saying the national outage was caused by an unusually high volume of traffic across network links in NSW.
The mobile company apologised to customers on Twitter saying it was “sorry if this issue has messed up [their] night”.
But Dominique Lamb, CEO of the National Retail Association, told the Herald the outage could cost the industry up to $100 million.