National Telstra outage cripples payments across banks, retailers, ATMs

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National Telstra outage cripples payments across banks, retailers, ATMs

COIN network croaks, retailers and payments down.

Key Points:

  • Payments, ATMs and EFTPOS across Australia were knocked offline by a Telstra outage.
  • Telstra services have been restored.
  • Severity of the incident varied depending on reliance on Telstra and 4G back-up.
  • Cause of the outage is Telstra's COIN network that moves eftpos, ATM and bank payments is down.
  • COIN is an industry hub, all participants are believed to be affected.
  • CBA, Westpac, ANZ and NAB all hit.
  • Woolies, Caltex, Australia Post also affected.
  • Coles said it is trading normally.

All of Australia's Big Four banks as well as Woolworths, Caltex and Australia Post were hit by a national Telstra enterprise service outage that crippled electronic payments and terminals during the commuter peak hour and late night shopping hump on Thursday.

Most services came back online gradually around 6pm after Telstra powered payments industry hub COIN fell over around 3pm.

The extent and severity of the outage follows a warning by the Reserve Bank that banks and their service providers need to lift their game on digital service resilience.

"We are currently investigating an issue affecting data services, including EFTPOS and access to ATMS, for a number of enterprise customers nationally. Many of our services are starting to restore. We’re sorry for any issues caused and will provide an update when we know more,” a Telstra spokesman said.

The Commonwealth Bank said earlier it was looking into “an issue” at around 15.30 Sydney time with some services while the National Australia Bank is understood to be having problems with some eftpos and Hicaps payments services.

The ANZ also confirmed it was affected.

Services with ANZ and Woolies-owned BWS started to come back up around 17.45 when iTnews scouted retailers in St Leonards in Sydney.

Westpac was another bank hit.

Telstra confirmed the issue in a brief statement.

"We are currently investigating an issue affecting services, including EFTPOS and access to ATMS, for a number of enterprise customers nationally," a Telstra spokesman said.

"We’re sorry for any issues caused and will provide an update when we know more."

The problems at this stage do not appear to be affecting all customers, with a Sydney CBD fringe Hicaps user telling iTnews services were working normally.

Multiple finance sector sources have attributed the glitch to Telstra's COIN network that moves financial transactions between merchant terminals and banks.

Andy White, chief executive of the of Australian Payments Network which oversees COIN confirmed the hub was hit late Thursday afternoon.

“Due to a Telstra outage, there is an issue impacting some banking services including point-of-sale and ATMs," White said.

"Affected financial institutions are working closely with Telstra to rectify the issue as soon as possible.”

Catex said its electronic payments were hit by the glitch.

As did Australia Post.

However Coles said it was still trading with only minimal disruption.

“Coles stores are trading normally. We understand a small number of Credit Union cards may be impacted by an outage affecting some businesses, however at Coles payments can still be processed via EFTPOS,” a Coles spokesman said.

The latest problem comes just weeks after the Reserve Bank of Australia revealed that outages had soared by 40 percent and warned banks and telcos about the dangers of ageing infrastructure.

Some users are reporting problems making eftpos transactions, but it appears the issue is with the connections to merchant payment terminals.

The problem has hit as Australian cities head into to busy peak hour commuter rush with most capitals also having Thursday late night trading.

More to come.

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