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Credit Card Machine Not Working?

A credit card machine that isn’t working can be frustrating and could lead to missed sales and revenue.  Every merchant services provider will promise the best customer service, but can they quickly and efficiently make sure your terminal is working in your time of need?  My belief is that the most important function of a bank card representative and their processing office is to ensure that if there is ever a technical interruption of service, that a merchant is able to start accepting cards again as quickly and easily as possible.  I know that if a credit card machine is broken, a business is counting on a swift and effective response from tech support.

Of the many reasons that I’m proud to represent Signature Card Services is their incredible tech support team and the lengths they go to in order to help merchants with any tech support issues.  Their team is led by a duo of the most experienced, efficient and caring merchant services technicians that I’ve EVER dealt with in this industry.  Carlos Contreras. is the manager of their department and I’ve worked with him for nine years and his professionalism and customer focused attitude continues to amaze me.  I’ve worked with his right hand man, Alberto Trejo for eight years and not only does he have my complete trust in his expertise and attention to my customers, but also he is someone I consider a friend.

Since Alberto helps hundreds of merchants every week, I asked him some of the most common technical support issues he’s seen with our most popular terminal, the Hypercom/Equinox brand.  Within an hour he shared with me a list of the most common issues and a quick fix guide that I’m passing along.

  • T7Plus & T4200 series: Transactions FAILED – CE (communication error) ; this means that something is interrupting the terminal from calling out such as not being plugged in direct to the wall jack.  It could be digital voice mail on phone line because it gives a stutter tone to alert a voice mail has been received.  It could be a bad splitter or using a filter. It could be that toll dialing is not working or that a digital phone line is being used.
  • T7Plus & T4200 series: Transactions FAILED – TO (time out); this means that something is delaying the terminal communication and then communication is dropped. Reasons might be not being plugged in direct to the wall jack.  Also it could be digital voice mail on phone line because it gives a stutter tone to alert a voice mail has been received or it could be a bad splitter or using a filter or even a very long extension cord.  Possibly a digital phone line is being used.
  • T7Plus & T4200 series: Please wait line busy; this means that something is interrupting the terminal from calling out such as not being plugged in direct to the wall jack.  It could be digital voice mail on phone line because it gives a stutter tone to alert a voice mail has been received.  Or it could be a bad splitter or using a filter.  It could be that a prefix is needed to dial out such as 0 or 9 or it could also be that a voice over IP phone line is being used.
  • T4200 series: Terminal stuck on SPOS32;  this means that either the home button was pressed or the power was removed from terminal and all you have to do is press the button next to SPOS32.
  • T4200 series: Terminal keeps rebooting; this could be because initially when the terminal power was plugged in the shape on the cord and the shape on the port was not aligned and so power cord was damaged and cannot lock in place now.  If every time it is moved it shuts down, then using the wire clip to hold the cords in place can help by placing terminal so that power cord doesn’t move.
  • T4200 series: Invalid Terminal Keys; this is not fixable and terminal needs to be replaced because there was a power outage or power surge that removed the OS from the terminal or the terminal could have been dropped.
  • T4200 series: No

    paper even though paper is in terminal;  this could be fixable or if persistent terminal needs to be replaced.  It usually means that the paper sensor in the terminal needs to be cleaned.  It can be cleaned with wet wipe nonabrasive chemical.  Alternately it may be that the OS was damaged and is not recognizing printer properly.

  • All terminals: terminal not printing; merchant just changed paper roll and still not printing means that thermal paper is not being used or that the thermal paper with the thermal chemical side is not pointing towards the terminal. There is a glossy side on thermal paper and if that side is not facing the inside of a terminal it will not print.

As you can see from Alberto’s list, the first three potential issues have nothing to do with the terminal and everything to do with the communication lines.  Without a doubt, the vast majority of technical support issues are due to a terminal no longer able to utilize the telephone line and in many cases it’s actually a local phone provider issue.  And yes, a merchant may be able to utilize the phone line for making a call and yet have it suddenly unable to work for processing credit card transactions.

My customers supported by Signature Card Services can reach their award winning tech support by calling them directly at (888)334-2284 and ext. 247 for Alberto or ext. 238 for Carlos.  Hours of availability are 10 am – 8pm M-F.  24/7 back up support is also available at 800-228- 0210.

Most terminal support issues are rather mundane and the worst case scenario consists of an overnight replacement of a terminal.  However, some might wonder what the most extreme issue I’ve ever run into.  Well, if you promise not tell anybody, I’ll share my most shocking story that was shared with me from an Independent Sales Office (ISO) that I worked with before I started Cornerstone.

This ISO I was working with had won a contract to provide merchant services for a fast food chain.  This chain served particularly greasy food and most of the locations were urban.  The ISO was receiving numerous calls of the terminals not functioning and were having problems locating the issues.  Upon onsite investigation, they discovered that the grease from the fryers was splattering the telephone lines and since they were coated in grease, rats were gnawing on the lines, resulting in communication issues!

Most merchants will never have issues with their terminal because of rats or a terminal being set on fire, but if processing long enough, every piece of electronics will eventually experience a break down.  When it happens, it’s important to feel secure with a solid merchant support department that can help with a speedy and hassle free resolution to the issue.

Many times I’ve talked to business owners experiencing persistent and frustrating terminal issues.  They’ve shared horror stories of their tech support being difficult to reach with long hold times and then dealing with incompetent tech support personnel unable or unwilling to resolve their issues.  I’ve seen where agents and tech support have often tried to sell new equipment at a hefty mark up to take advantage of the merchant’s unfortunate situation.  Actually, in most cases the original bank card representative cannot even be reached!

For business owners that have a terminal down, there are alternatives.  A quick call to Cornerstone Business Solutions, backed by the tech savy Signature Card Services, and we can advise the best course of action.  Sometimes a more service oriented company IS the solution.  And with Signature’s free terminal program with guarantee, we can have a brand new free terminal with low cost processing in record time.  Call Cornerstone Business Solutions at 309-820-0076.

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Robert McBeath is a Certified Payment Professional and President of Cornerstone Business Solutions.  Robert has extensive experience offering merchant services and cash advances to business owners. Visit or call him at 888.979.4731.

Category: Credit

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