Woolworths EFTPOS outages across Australia create frustration for shoppers


When the EFTPOS Goes Down: The Importance of Disaster Recovery Systems for Small Businesses

In your retail store, it's easy to take modern technology for granted. Tap-and-go payments, internet banking, EFTPOS; these staples of Australian commerce feel like they'll always be there, operating smoothly in the background. Please do not believe that they always work. But critical systems like EFTPOS fail unexpectedly, and the impact today can be huge for retailers.

Outages Happen More Often Than You'd Think

Events like the Woolworths trading debacle click here for details highlighting that even large retailers with sophisticated IT infrastructure and internet are still at risk today. No system is immune to technical failures. If I made a bet with you that one of my clients would have an EFTPOS problem this week, I am sure I would win.

A survey by the Australian Retailers Association in 2019 found that many retailers had experienced an internet or EFTPOS outage in that year. As Murphy Law would have it, most that reported problems said it occurred at the worst possible time.

A Hot Day Spells Trouble

A newsagent who makes a good trade with drinks and ice cream, on a hot day, EFTPOS stopped working. It took several hours to fix it. They felt that they lost half their trade over those few hours as they were unable to process any electronic payments whatsoever. 

Why Small Businesses Are Especially Vulnerable

Larger retailers often have better systems and can justify high costs to minimise outage disruptions. But for small businesses operating on tight budgets, often with the cheapest internet plans and no redundancy, it makes them much more vulnerable to unplanned network and hardware failures.

What can be done.

  • Make sure your EFTPOS systems have local mode. 

  • Make sure your EFTPOS can go both through the internet and mobile data.

  • Keep an option to accept cash in your shop.


Hardware failures and internet outages are inevitable risks for small retailers relying on electronic payments. Events like the recent Woolworths outage show that you can be affected even if you have the best equipment and systems.


Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
CAPTCHA This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.