Payment terminal malfunction sends thousands of SMEs into crisis » SMEInsider

Payment terminal malfunction sends thousands of SMEs into crisis

A software update which corrupted thousands of payment terminals has left many SMEs unable to accept electronic card payments, with small businesses fearing that the problem may not be resolved until late November.


Payment problems

Spire Payments, one of the fastest growing point of sale (POS) providers in Europe sent out a software update to thousands of its terminals on October 20th.

Supposedly the problem is that a software registration certificate contained in the terminals expired on October 19th, causing an estimated 40,000 terminals in the UK to malfunction.

Thousands of small business owners have tried to contact Spire to gain information on the problem, but have failed to get hold of anyone, with the company failing to respond to calls and emails.

Customers have directed their frustration towards First Data and Payment Sense, two of Spire’s business partners. According to insider sources, the two firms have been inundated with calls since the problem arose.

According to, some customers have been told that Spire is shipping out 24,000 replacement terminals, but some small business owners have already purchased payment machines from rival companies.

Some rival terminal providers are cashing in on Spire’s misfortune, offering short-term hire terminals that cost around £140 a week.


How has this issue affected SMEs?

Small businesses that sell high-value items are the companies most affected by the problem. Anita Gardiner, a restaurant owner based in Cawthorne, South Yorkshire, has been unable to process card payments since October 30th.

‘‘What is annoying more than anything is they didn’t give us any notice and left us to fend for ourselves,’’ Gardiner told Thisismoney. ‘‘The service is appalling. The line is constantly engaged. The chap I dealt with when I signed up with them in the beginning has not even acknowledged us.’’

‘‘We are lucky in that we can contact our customers and ask them to bring cheques or cash, because we don’t have much casual trade.’’

‘‘We have got off quite lightly, but it has wasted a lot of my time. Small independent retail businesses which rely on walk-in trade will have really been hit by it,’’ continued Gardiner.

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