As cashless society, customers rely on businesses to have card terminals so they make payments. In order for a business to take a payment they need to have an internet connection or a phone line as well as power for the terminal itself.
If you find yourself in a situation where you lose power or internet, don’t panic. Some businesses may still have the old ‘Zip Zap’ machines, however banks don’t tend to issue these as a standard to businesses anymore.
1) Call the Payment Authorisation Line. This is your Merchant Bank; the line is open 24/7 (best to call on a mobile if phone lines are down). They will be able to take all the card details from you and see if there are funds available on the card and test it is a legitimate card. This is called a voice authorisation. A "Sales Voucher" will then need to be sent to your Acquiring Bank for them to process the transaction.
For larger sales, it would be worth using the Payment Authorisation Line to check customer's funds before letting go of the item.
Some Acquirers do not support Maestro domestic, Maestro international or Electron cards to be used with this method.
2) The debit and credit card authorisation form (download form here), allows you to write down all of your clients details so that when the power comes back and you’re up and running again you can then complete the transactions as a card not present transaction. Just remember to get them to sign the form and only process the amount agreed or you face a charge back and fraud issues.
Please ensure that all card details and customer information you write down is disposed of in a safe manner. We highly recommend that you shred the documents as soon as you have processed the transactions. This will also help ensure you remain PCI compliant.