Pump payments back online after leap year glitch

The self-service pumps were not working at Allied Pōrangahau in Hawke's Bay this morning. Photo /...
The self-service pumps were not working at Allied Pōrangahau in Hawke's Bay this morning. Photo / Michaela Gower

Petrol stations around the country are up and running again following a day-long leap-year glitch which saw card payment machines go down for more than 10 hours.

Allied Petroleum, Gull, Z, Waitomo and other fuel stops around New Zealand reported problems with card payments on Thursday because of a software glitch they said was caused by their systems not being programmed to deal with the date February 29.

BP truckstops also saw issues with their outdoor payment terminals, prompting an apology from the company for any inconvenience caused. BP said its fuel cards had not been affected.

Gull spokesperson Julien Leys said all fuel brands’ card payment terminals were impacted by the leap year glitch.

He said the provider in question was Invenco payment solutions - which from his understanding specialised in fuel payments.

Invenco Group Ltd chief executive John Scott earlier told the Herald they were working to stand up payment terminals "as we speak".

Scott confirmed there had been a leap year glitch - "and we’ve fixed it. We just need to roll it out to the network now, which is our immediate focus. We are [also] talking to Worldline on the rollout process".

"I know the question is timing; it’s as soon as possible. Expect this afternoon."

Just before 7pm, Scott contacted the Herald to say the network was being turned on and customers would see working machines within a quarter of an hour.

A spokeswoman for Z Energy and Caltex confirmed their systems were working as of about 7pm. Waitomo has been approached for confirmation.

Allied Petroleum’s network was also back as of 7.05pm, according to a note on the company’s website. BP has also been approached for confirmation.

Waitomo chief executive Simon Parham said the provider was testing a potential fix around midday and hoped to resolve the issue by early afternoon.

Parham said there was no clear confirmation yet whether the leap year date was the root cause, and they were waiting for a full incident report from the software provider.

Waitomo Group owner Jimmy Ormsby said if a fuel brand has an in-house solution like their app, then this was an alternative form of payment.

Leys said it was a nationwide payments issue that had first been spotted earlier this morning.

"We have been liaising with our provider and understand they are working as quickly as possible to fix the issue."

He said February 29 was "just one of those things that caused the payment software to have a glitch".

"We are really reliant on the payment supplier, but we are hoping they can get it fixed as quickly as possible.

"It’s across the board, but it seems to be mainly affecting outdoor payment terminals, but it’s too early to say, we think it is affecting all payment terminals.

"It’s a tough day for motorists who are trying to fill up at the pump today."

Waitomo Group Manager Greta Shirley said Waitomo’s understanding was that a fix was on the way, with testing potentially around lunchtime, "but we haven’t been told that officially by the payment third party".

"This is not affecting app payments or where stores have an indoor payment terminal.

"A lot has been directed at Worldline, and it is not a Worldline issue - it’s the outdoor payment, so that’s why a lot of the unmanned sites are being impacted."

"I just want people to know if they need fuel they can use the app."

At Allied in Pōrangahau, the station owner said he had been in contact with head office about the problem, and had been told it was because of the leap year date.

"It’s a pain for everyone. They rolled out a new [system] last year, but they obviously weren’t programmed for the leap year."

Gull and Allied said on social media they were aware of a nationwide technical error across all fuel brands that had put their fuel stop network offline on Thursday.

"Our team are busy working with our suppliers to fix the issue, we will provide further updates as soon as we can," Allied wrote.

Gull said: "An industry-wide fault is causing some Gull payment terminals not to work. We’re working hard to fix this as quickly as possible.

"We understand the frustration our customers are feeling and will have a Discount Day next week to make up for the inconvenience."