Moneris service outage affects card payments on busy shopping, travel day

If you were having trouble using your debit or credit card to make in-person payments, you’re not alone — one of Canada’s largest payment processors went down Friday.

Moneris says the issue behind the “network outage affecting customers ability to process transactions” has been identified and resolved. However, it notes businesses may still “experience some slowness while systems catch-up.”

“…Everything should return to normal shortly and teams are monitoring,” the financial tech company, which specializes in payment processing and terminals, said just after 3:30 p.m. EST.

The outage came on a busy day, with many people travelling for the holidays and doing some last-minute Christmas shopping.

Service disruption tracker Downdetector showed people started reporting problems with payments services like Interac, Visa and RBC around 2:30 p.m. EST and Moneris took to social media just before 3:30 p.m. EST, saying it was working to resolve the situation “with the utmost urgency.”

“We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may cause,” Moneris added.

Some social media users reported trying to call the Moneris support line and not having any luck getting through. The company’s website was also down for about an hour.

It’s unclear what exactly caused the service outage.

Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), says the timing of this outage couldn’t be worse.

“This is just brutal,” he told CityNews Friday.

He says these days leading up to Christmas are “make-it-or-break-it for small businesses,” and can affect their year.

“Many retailers will say that 60 per cent of their annual sales are in the weeks leading up to Christmas and a huge chunk of that in the days leading up to Christmas,” Kelly said. “So even a few minutes of outage is going to cause customers to abandon shopping carts in stores, to leave piles of stuff at the counter, not to mention potential online disruptions. So this is about as bad as it gets for retailers at this critical time.”

Shopping carts areabandoned at a South Surrey grocery store amid a Moneris card payment outage.
Shopping carts are abandoned at a South Surrey grocery store amid a Moneris card payment outage on Friday, Dec. 22, 2023. (Robyn Crawford, CityNews Image)

Kelly says many small businesses are still dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting only half have reported being back to pre-pandemic sales levels.

“The Canada Emergency Business Account loans are due in just a few days. Businesses have to repay a $40,000 or $60,000 loan to the federal government just in the next couple of days, and then to have a revenue stream at this most critical of times to be out even for moments is going to cause massive repercussions for small firms,” he explained.

“Customers are not going to wait for the system to be back up.”

Moneris is a joint venture between Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal. 

With files from Catherine Garrett

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today