Do you have the best Point of Sale for an internet outage?

June 01, 2022

It's the middle of a busy day, you have a huge line at the register and then this happens — the internet goes out. The type of POS (point-of-sale) system you have could mean the difference having a good or bad day of sales.

 

Internet outages can be very stressful for both staff and customers. Longer wait times and payment security concerns can make your customer uncomfortable, and a drop in connection leaves your staff without valuable tools. With a modern POS and a bit of preparedness, you can deescalate these situations and keep operations moving. 

 

Potential hurdles during an internet outage

A lot of work can continue without internet; chefs can keep cooking and stockers can keep stocking. But when it comes to customer care, having operational terminals is crucial. Here are some functions generally required of your registers, even in the event of an outage:

  • Make orders: You’ll need to be able to ring up items and access your catalog of products; depending on your business, you may need to be able to create and save open orders, too
  • Accept payments: Your customers expect safe and accurate payment acceptance
  • Track inventory: Any products sold during an internet outage should still be counted against your inventory
  • Maintain customer relationship: Most importantly, you’ll want the customer experience to be largely unchanged, especially concerning checkout time

 

Modern POS: A cloud-based solution

Up until the invention of cloud storage, legacy POS systems were all that were available to business owners. These systems store information locally and are limited in their offline-operating abilities. Today, modern POS software is stored in the cloud, allowing you to access data from anywhere at any time. Modern POS systems also have greater capabilities in offline mode like inventory reconciliation, which upon returning online, immediately balances your inventory against transactions made during the internet outage. Other offline capabilities include data caching and local pre-authorization.

 

Accepting payment during offline mode

Being able to accept payment during an internet outage is done through data caching. Data caching happens during any transaction, online or off, but is particularly helpful when you experience a disruption in your internet access. When you process a digital payment, data points are caught and temporarily stored in the POS system. These data points, including the cardholder’s name and card number, are then sent to the payment processing software. 

If those data points can’t be transferred because of an issue like an internet outage which blocks your POS from sending information to the payment processor, they’re stored until they can. With this caching system, your customer’s data is safely stored until connectivity can be restored. 

 

POS offline: Local pre-authorization

Payments are authorized upon approval from the payment processing software, but if that connection is missing, your POS still needs to be able to process transactions until the cache can be cleared. With modern POS hardware, your card reader will support the ability to turn off this validation step and proceed with the order. 

This is a great solution for keeping register lines moving, however it should be made available with some precautions. Because you can’t authorize the fact that funds are available to make the payment, you risk closing a transaction and finding out after the internet is restored that authorization failed. To minimize risk, set a maximum purchase limit during outages. 

 

Keep backup mobile POS

Even if you don’t normally use a data-connected device as part of your business’ operations, it’s smart to have that option available in the case your traditional registers can’t connect to the internet. Mobile software uses 4G and 5G data to communicate with the payment processing software; the software doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi or ethernet. Keep at least one mobile POS option charged and its software updated in case of an outage. From a data-connected device, you can accept and receive payment and process transactions. Having your register software accessible on a mobile device that uses cellular data, like an iPad, makes it easy staff to access the tools they need to continue working.

 

Limits to POS offline mode

When not connected to the internet, an offline POS system can complete a wide variety of functions but will have its limitations as well. Keep in mind that these functions are generally not available when the internet drops:

  • Gift card creation and application
  • Refunds or exchanges
  • Catalog or menu editing
  • Order synching between terminals
     

When choosing a POS provider, ask about the functions available during an internet outage. Plus, be sure to choose a service provider with 24/7 support so that in case of an error with the system, you’ll have access to an answer any day of the week.

 

Interested in cloud-based POS services with a wide range of offline functionalities? Learn more about U.S. Bank merchant services

Learn about U.S. Bank

Related content

Increase working capital with Commercial Card Optimization

Top tips for card payments optimization

3 ways to adapt to the new payments landscape

Allowance basics for parents and kids

Dear Money Mentor: How do I set and track financial goals?

How mobile point of sale (mPOS) can benefit your side gig

P2P payments make it easier to split the tab

3 awkward situations Zelle can help avoid

When your spouse has passed away: A three-month financial checklist

How to save money in college: easy ways to spend less

Checklist: How to gain financial independence from your parents

Dear Money Mentor: How do I begin paying off credit card debt?

Myth vs. truth: What affects your credit score?

4 benefits to paying foreign suppliers in their own currency

3 ways POS data analysis can help define your brand

Improve government payments with electronic billing platforms

Emerging A/R solutions use artificial intelligence to target efficiency

ABCs of APIs: Drive treasury efficiency with real-time connectivity

Hospitals face cybersecurity risks in surprising new ways

How jumbo loans can help home buyers and your builder business

Payment industry trends shaping that are the future of POS

Real-time payments: the next major treasury disruptor

Higher education strategies for e-payment migration, fighting fraud

4 ways to make practical use of real-time payments

Benefits of billing foreign customers in their own currency

How real-time inventory visibility can boost retail margins

Escheatment resources: Reporting deadlines for all 50 states

Colleges respond to student needs by offering digital payments

Want AP automation to pay both businesses and consumers?

Digital banking and cloud accounting software: How they work together

Automate accounts payable to optimize revenue and payments

Adjust collections to limit impact of USPS delivery changes

How electronic billing platforms improve government payments

4 restaurant models that aren’t dine-in

How to identify what technology is needed for your small business

Key considerations for online ordering systems

Planning for restaurant startup costs and when to expect them

Staying organized when taking payments

How does an electronic point of sale help your business keep track of every dime?

How iPads can help increase efficiency in your salon

Tools that can streamline staffing and employee management

How small businesses are growing sales with online ordering

Gift cards can extend ROI into 2022

Rethinking common time management tips

How Everyday Funding can improve cash flow

How to apply for a business credit card

How a small business is moving forward during COVID-19

How to accept credit cards online

Improve online presence your business

Honey Luxury Beauté: growing a side project into an eye-catching beauty business

3 ways to gain loyalty with your customers

Strengthen your brand with modern POS technology

Drivers for changing accounts receivable in 2021

Digitizing receivables to transform B2B rent payments

How AR technology is helping advance payment processing at Avera Health

Digital trends poised to reshape hotel payments

ePOS cash register training tips and tricks

Three healthcare payment trends that will continue to matter in 2022

Managing the rising costs of payment acceptance with service fees

Safeguarding the payment experience through contactless

Automate escheatment for accounts payable to save time and money

The benefits of payment digitization: Pushing for simplicity

Cashless business pros and cons: Should you make the switch?

Understanding and preparing for the new payment experience

White Castle optimizes payment transactions

Collect utility and telecom bill payments faster

Tailor Ridge eBill case study

ABCs of ARP: Answers to American Rescue Plan questions for counties

Overcoming the 3 key challenges of a lump sum relocation program

Why retail merchandise returns will be a differentiator in 2022

Technology strategies to complement your business plan

Omnichannel retail: 4 best practices for navigating the new normal

Is your restaurant Google-friendly?

5 Ways to protect your government agency from payment fraud

Government agency credit card programs and PCI compliance

3 benefits of integrated payments in healthcare

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Webinar: AP automation for commercial real estate

Webinar: CSM corporation re-thinks AP

Tech tools to keep your restaurant operations running smoothly

A simple guide to set up your online ordering restaurant

COVID-19 safety recommendations: Are you ready to reopen?

How to improve digital payments security for your health system

Higher education and the cashless society: Latest trends

Government billing survey: The digital transformation of the payment experience

Top 3 ways digital payments can transform the patient experience

Webinar: Fraud prevention and mitigation for government agencies

Digital receivables to meet changing demand

Webinar: CRE technology trends

Webinar: AP automation—solve payment challenges with an invoice-to-pay solution

Webinar: Robotic process automation

Webinar: CRE treasury leader roundtable

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.

U.S. Bank is not responsible for and does not guarantee the products, services or performance of U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.