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How to Process Payments in an Outage

August 1, 2018
Most payment processing systems, including point-of-sale terminals, operate through an internet connection. Unfortunately, technology isn’t always the most reliable. It can freeze, glitch or shut down altogether, bringing everything – including processing payments – to a screeching halt. That’s why it’s imperative that your business has equipment in place to keep business transactions up and running in the event of an internet outage.
Many offline terminals use a similar queue system (at Heartland it’s called Store and Forward) that allows you to accept and complete the transaction. The data from the transaction is then stored in the queue until the internet connection is regained, at which point the terminal sends the transactions for approval.
Regardless of how the data is stored, you risk losing the funds for offline transactions because funds may not be available once they are processed. To offer some level of protection, many terminals allow you to set per transaction dollar limits (for example, $20 or less) and/or limit the number of total offline transactions. This limits your risk in the case stored transactions cannot be processed or are lost altogether.
No matter how the situation is handled, be sure to contact your payment processor’s customer service or support team to notify them of the outage. This alerts them of the problem and paves the way for customer support to find any underlying issues to protect you from future losses.
How Heartland can help.
Heartland is a leader in the payment processing industry and is committed to helping the entrepreneurs of America with their payments, payroll, point-of-sale, customer engagement and lending needs.
You have a couple of different options when it comes to processing payments during an outage with our terminals or point-of-sale systems.
Our Store and Forward system operates through queue technology to process payments after the point of sale. Store and Forward integrates with Heartland terminals and point-of-sale systems, and will prompt the merchant before going into Store and Forward mode, giving control over how transactions are processed. If a transaction fails, Store and Forward keeps a copy of the card in the system. To retrieve and process the transaction, a call to the Heartland Service Center can be made.
There is a 400-transaction limit when using Store and Forward at $130 per transaction. Again, the use of Store and Forward does not guarantee the transactions won’t be lost or returned as insufficient.
To avoid the risk of having a declined transaction with Store and Forward, payments can be processed through other backup solutions to keep business running (for example, the Heartland mobile app can process payments as long as there’s a 4G connection).
In the event of a complete power outage, Heartland customers don’t have to worry about lost transactions. While you’re inoperable without power, Heartland’s point-of-sale systems and card terminals have the ability to close a batch of transactions, which means any payments previously processed won’t get lost, and your business won’t lose sales.
Technology is sure to fail at some point – it’s just part of the technological landscape in which we currently live. However, taking the steps to protect your business when the internet fails is essential. Don’t be caught without the proper equipment. Let Heartland help. 
We’re committed to your business’s success every step of the way. Visit to find a local sales professional to help you get your business set up today. 

RAMW is invested in the growth and success of your business, providing support, education and advocacy for our members. With that in mind, we’ve partnered with Heartland, one of the largest payment processors in the U.S. We are confident that Heartland will provide you with a wide range of products and services, from payment and payroll processing, lending, security technology and more.

We selected Heartland because reputation is everything, and they operate with integrity and transparency, serving as a merchant advocate.

Heartland delivers fast, secure omnichannel payment processing and business solutions to more than 400,000 business locations nationwide. Product offerings include payments, payroll, point of sale, customer engagement and lending. Heartland pioneered the Merchant Bill of Rights, a public advocacy initiative to educate merchants about fair payment processing practices. Heartland Payment Systems is a Global Payments company (NYSE: GPN).

For more information, please contact Robert Higdon at 888-798-3133 x11577 or and reference your Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington affiliation.

View the RAMW Suite of Products available through Heartland.