The outage began just before 3pm AEST on Thursday, and affected the nation’s banks, supermarket chains, petrol stations and other businesses.
Nearly three hours later, just before 6pm AEST, Telstra confirmed the network connection was back, but it would take time for all systems to be restored.
At 8pm AEST, Telstra said many of its services were starting to restore and apologised to customers.
“Most services are now back online and we’re working with our enterprise partners on the remaining few,” Telstra said.
“We’re continuing to keep an eye on all services as this happens. Thanks for your patience.”
The Commonwealth Bank said services had returned to normal at 7.30pm AEST, but some ATMs were “taking a little longer to become available”.
“We are aware there are some delays in payments going into customer accounts,” the CBA tweeted.
“This incident has caused a delay in us receiving payments and processing them into accounts. “We apologise for this and are working hard to ensure payments go into accounts overnight.”
At Westpac, whch was also hit by the outage, “a majority” of the banking serices affected were back up and running again by 8.30pm AEST.
Woolworths told News Corp Australia they expected their systems to come back online and resume normal service through check-outs by 7pm AEST.
“Telstra has advised us the network connection is back up and running,” a Woolworths spokesperson said.
“We expect our systems to come back online and resume normal service through check-outs over the next hour. Stores continue to trade. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience and delays in shopping this afternoon.”
“Our stores are continuing to trade as our teams are still able to process payments manually at this time.
Long queues began to build up at Woolworths as the Telstra outage prevented customers from making quick transactions.
David from Woolworths in Newstead, Brisbane, said the outage resulted in some customer’s EFTPOS cards not to work unless they are processed manually.
Customers were building up at the tills as transactions took longer to process with most having to insert and sign instead of payWave.
In an announcement to customers, a Woolworths representative said: “Due to a nationwide outage we can not accept contactless payments. We can only accept cash or manual payments.”
Sheila Rodrigues who was lining up to pay, said “it’s a bit of a bummer.”
“I have less than 10 items so I can normally go through the express checkout but the queues are definitely longer.”
Ms Rodrigues said she hoped her card would work but if not she said she had some cash on hand.
Mother-of-two Cyndi Lamb said her HSBC card still worked but she had to insert it manually.
“I had to insert and do my signature but it still worked,” she said.
Some desperate customers resorted to withdrawing cash at the nearest working ATMs to reduce wait times at the counter.
Caltex Australia said they were “experiencing challenges” with EFTPOS payments in stores nationwide and were unable to receive calls to our contact centre.
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Earlier, customers of the ANZ Bank said on social media they were also facing EFTPOS issues.
The bank confirmed the issue, telling customers: “There appears to be a wide-spread EFTPOS outage at the moment, while this is not isolated to ANZ, please be assured that we are working to have this resolved on our end ASAP.”
The same issue hit St George Bank and Westpac.
“We’re aware some branches, ATMs and services in Sydney metro are non- operational due to a broader network failure in the region,” St George Bank said in a tweet.
Westpac confirmed it was “aware some branches, ATMs & services in Sydney metro are non-operational due to a broader network failure in the region”.
“Our teams are communicating with external providers on when services will be restored & we’ll keep you updated. Online banking is working normally,” it stated on Twitter.
Bank Australia also told its customers the cause was due to a “Telstra fault.”
“There is an issue with EFTPOS and Osko transactions. We recommend customers making purchases, either use Tap & Pay or select credit when using a card,” it stated.
“We are currently investigating the cause and will provide further updates. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
A Coles spokesperson told News Corp a small number of Credit Union cards were affected by the outage.
“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,” he said.
EFTPOS provider Tyro has also issued a statement publicly on Twitter, saying there was a “connectivity issue”.
“eftpos transactions are currently unavailable due to a connectivity issue,” it stated.
“This is outside Tyro’s control, we are monitoring the situation to ensure systems return to normal ASAP. Please ask customers for an another card payment option.”
An hour after the outage started, Telstra issued a statement on Twitter today, acknowledging the issue.
They tweeted: “We’re currently looking into an issue affecting services including EFTPOS and access to ATMs.
“We’re sorry if this impacts you. We’ll keep you updated as we know more.”
At around 5.30pm AEST, Telstra issued another statement saying: “Our team is working to get to the bottom of the issue as quickly as they can. We know this is a hassle when you’re trying to take out cash or pay by card. Thanks for bearing with us.”
News Corp has contacted Telstra for further comment.