Morrisons and Co-op stores across the country have seen their card payment systems go down causing chaos as customers are forced to pay with cash for the first time in months.
Co-op and Morrisons both confirmed they have been experiencing issues with their card payment systems since Sunday evening, after dozens of customers took to social media to warn of the issue.
Carnage in the big supermarket as it’s announced all their systems have gone down and it’s cash only 🤦🏼♀️
— Jen Bartram (@JenBartram) January 24, 2021
@Morrisons think you should be telling people on way into shops about card issues Q's inside shop are a disgrace in a pandemic
— Kev butler (@butler_kev) January 25, 2021
Many customers complained of having to abandon their shopping at the till as the store announced they could only accept cash, while many convenience stores faced huge queues for their cash machines.
The issue was exacerbated by the dramatic shift away from cash during the pandemic, with customers favouring contactless payments for both convenience and safety.
A report from Mastercard last week revealed that nearly 90 per cent of all face-to-face transactions were made using contactless payments last year.
According to the BBC, the issue affecting both retailers was due to outages at their real-time payment processing provider API.
A Morrisons spokesperson told the BBC: “We’ve experienced some technical difficulties with our card payments and are working hard to resolve this as quickly as possible. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
A Co-op spokesman added: “Our payment processing provider is working to correct an intermittent issue which has prevented a very small number of customer transactions from being processed.
“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The shift away from cash has caused concern that many vulnerable shoppers without access to digital payments could be put at risk.
According to data from the Access to Cash Review, 8 million people in the UK are at risk from the rapid demise of the “fragile cash system”.
Which?’s head of external affairs and campaigns Richard Piggin said: “While many of us may have noticed shops displaying signs that they now only accept digital payments, our research shows that the rapid move towards a cashless society risks excluding the most vulnerable from being able to pay for vital products and services.
“We’re alarmed at the reports of people leaving food and medicine behind because they can’t pay with cash and it underlines how important it is to have a coordinated approach to protecting the fragile cash system.”