Troubleshooting Common EFTPOS Machine Issues

EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) machines have become a cornerstone in the operations of modern businesses, facilitating quick and efficient transactions in retail, hospitality, and beyond. Their reliability and speed enhance customer service by reducing queues and simplifying the payment process. As essential as these machines are, they’re not immune to issues that can impede business operations.

As we supply, install, and maintain EFTPOS terminals and systems for businesses across Australia, this blog post aims to guide business owners and staff through some of the common issues that can occur.


Common EFTPOS Machine Problems

Connectivity Issues

Symptoms: EFTPOS machines may show errors like “Connection failed” or “Cannot connect to network,” or they may experience intermittent connectivity that disrupts transaction processing.

Troubleshooting Steps:

  • Check Network Connections: Ensure that all cables are securely connected. For wireless devices, verify that the Wi-Fi is functioning and within range.
  • Restart the Device: Sometimes, simply restarting the EFTPOS machine can resolve connectivity issues.
  • Check Service Outages: Contact your internet service provider to check for any known outages in your area that could be affecting connectivity.
  • Configure Network Settings: Ensure the network settings are correctly configured according to the service provider’s specifications.

Card Reading Errors

Symptoms: Transactions may fail to process if the card can’t be read, which could be due to a dirty or damaged card reader.

Troubleshooting Steps:

  • Clean the Card Reader: Use a card reader cleaning card or a soft cloth to gently clean the card reader slot.
  • Inspect for Damage: Check the card reader for any visible signs of damage. If damage is found, the unit may need professional repair or replacement.
  • Test with Multiple Cards: Try processing transactions with different cards to determine if the issue is with a specific card or the reader itself.

Printing Problems

Symptoms: Common issues include the EFTPOS machine not printing at all, printing partial receipts, or the prints being too faint.

Troubleshooting Steps:

  • Check Paper Roll: Ensure the paper roll is installed correctly and that there is enough paper. Replace the roll if needed.
  • Check for Jams: Open the printer compartment to check for and clear any paper jams.
  • Test Printer Functionality: Perform a printer test (usually available in the machine’s settings menu) to diagnose if the issue is with the printer mechanism.
  • Replace Ink or Thermal Head: If prints are faint, replace the ink cartridge or check if the thermal head needs cleaning or replacement.

Software Glitches

Symptoms: The machine may freeze, reboot unexpectedly, or display error messages.

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Restart the Machine: Often, a restart can clear temporary software glitches.
  2. Update Software: Check for and install any software updates from the manufacturer, which can fix known bugs and improve stability.
  3. Restore Factory Settings: If persistent issues occur, consider resetting the machine to factory settings. Ensure you back up any important data before doing this.


Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Guide

1. Basic Checks

  • Ensure Power Supply: Verify that the EFTPOS machine is properly plugged in and the power outlet is functioning. If battery-operated, check if the battery needs recharging or replacement.
  • Network Availability: Check your internet connection to make sure it is active and stable. For Wi-Fi connections, ensure the machine is within the network range.
  • Secure Connections: Inspect all cables and connections to ensure they are securely connected and undamaged. This includes checking Ethernet cables for wired connections and ensuring that Wi-Fi settings are correctly configured.

2. Advanced Troubleshooting

  • Resetting the Machine: Perform a soft reset by turning the machine off and on. If issues persist, a hard reset may be necessary. Consult the user manual for specific instructions as this can vary by model.
  • Updating Software: Access the administrative menu on the device to check for firmware or software updates. Install any available updates, as these can resolve known bugs and compatibility issues.
  • Cleaning the Card Reader: Use a card reader cleaning card or a soft, dry cloth to clean the card reader slot gently. Avoid using abrasive materials that could damage the reader.

3. When to Contact Support

  • Persistent Issues: If the machine continues to malfunction after basic and advanced troubleshooting, it’s time to contact technical support.
  • Error Codes: Take note of any specific error codes displayed by the machine. These codes provide valuable information that can help the support team diagnose the problem more quickly.
  • Prepare Information: Before contacting support, prepare information about the machine model, serial number, type of connectivity, and a detailed description of the issue. Also, include any troubleshooting steps already taken.
  • Warranty and Service Agreements: Check if your machine is under warranty or if there are specific service agreements that may cover the issue.


Preventative Maintenance Tips

Regularly inspect and maintain your EFTPOS machine to ensure it operates efficiently. Schedule monthly checks to clean the card reader, check for software updates, and verify all connections.

Consider a service contract with your provider for regular professional maintenance. This can help prevent issues from developing and ensure any problems are quickly resolved.

Best Practices

  • Proper Card Handling: Teach all staff how to insert and remove cards properly to avoid damaging the card reader. Emphasise the importance of gentle handling to extend the lifespan of both the cards and the reader.
  • Optimal Placement: Place the EFTPOS machine away from areas prone to spills, such as near sinks or drink stations in restaurants. Also, ensure the machine is not exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, which can affect its functionality.
  • Regular Cleaning: Establish a daily cleaning routine for the machine’s exterior using a soft, slightly damp cloth to wipe it down. Avoid using chemical cleaners or sprays directly on the machine.
  • Cable Management: Organise and secure cables to prevent them from being tripped over or disconnected. Use cable ties and ensure they have some slack to avoid tension.


Talk To Your EFTPOS Provider If Issues Persist

Adopting a routine of preventative maintenance and best practices will safeguard your equipment from frequent issues, extending its lifespan and optimising its efficiency the best. But when problems persist or when you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact professional support to protect your investment and maintain continuous service for your customers.

At Venue Smart, we’re trusted EFTPOS providers, supplying EFTPOS terminals and installing reliable EFTPOS systems for businesses across Australia. If you’re looking for a reliable provider, get in touch with us today.


Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I update the software on my EFTPOS machine?

It’s recommended to check for software updates every three months. However, if your provider releases a critical update to address security issues or significant bugs, update as soon as possible.

What should I do if my EFTPOS machine is continually rebooting itself?

Continual rebooting can be a sign of hardware failure or software issues. Perform a basic reset and check for updates. If the problem persists, contact technical support as this may require professional intervention.

Can I use any cleaning agent on my EFTPOS machine?

No, avoid using harsh chemical agents, such as bleach or ammonia-based cleaners, as they can damage the screen and exterior. Use a soft cloth slightly dampened with water or an appropriate electronic cleaning solution.

What are the most common causes of card reading errors?

Common causes include a dirty or scratched card reader, worn-out cards, or a misaligned card reader sensor. Regular cleaning and ensuring cards are free of physical damage can help minimise these errors.

How can I tell if a connectivity issue is due to my EFTPOS machine or my network provider?

Check other devices on the same network to see if they also experience connectivity issues. If they do, the problem likely lies with the network provider. If only the EFTPOS machine is affected, the issue may be with the device itself.

Is it necessary to turn off the EFTPOS machine at the end of each day?

It is not typically necessary to turn off EFTPOS machines daily unless specified by the manufacturer. However, rebooting the device once a week can help clear caches and renew internal settings, which might improve performance.