Up to 20 retailers affected by a card payment breakdown last weekend are this week assessing the damage caused before deciding whether to seek compensation from provider Barclaycard.

On Saturday, 20 retailers including Morrisons, Co-operative Group, Carphone Warehouse, Waitrose, B&Q, Sainsbury’s, and Argos were hit by a systems failure, which meant they were unable to process card authorisation payments, leading to queues of angry shoppers.

The incident lasted only 20 minutes from 2.10pm until 2.30pm but came at a peak time for stores, and it took more than an hour for the situation to return to normal. Shoppers took to social networking site

Twitter to complain about the tills not working. One shopper said: “Looks like there’s been a mini meltdown at the tills today in the UK.”

It is understood some retailers will consider seeking compensation but it is too early to say for sure.

A spokesman for Barclaycard said it has conducted an investigation into the issue, and found that a background file, which supports the authorisation system, had reached capacity due to a technical defect. Transactions were in a queue but were timing out.

He said: “The service has worked normally since the incident, although we continue to monitor it closely, and steps have already been taken to ensure that this issue cannot reoccur. We would like to apologise again for the inconvenience caused to our retailers, their employees and customers.”

The retailers affected apologised to customers and assured them that the problem was rectified. Waitrose told Retail Week that “our in-house back-up system ensured that 95% of our transactions were processed”, while Sainsbury’s said: “Many retailers across the country were affected by an issue with card payment systems over the weekend. The problem was rectified very quickly and all of our stores are now trading normally.”