Firm apologises to millions left unable to pay for goods and services across UK and rest of Europe
Visa’s pay system is operating at” full capability” after a hardware failure affected customers in the UK and the rest of Europe on Friday.
A statement posted on the Visa Europe website in the early hours of Saturday said:” Visa Europe’s payment system is now operating at full capacity, and Visa account holders can now use Visa for any of their purchases and at ATMs, as they normally would .”
The issue was not associated with any unauthorised access or cyber-attack, the statement said.
Millions of people were left unable to pay for goods and services across Europe after the unprecedented crash, which began at around 2.30 pm.
Visa apologised late on Friday, saying it had fallen” well short” of its aim to ensure cards worked reliably at all times.
Major retailers had earlier confirmed that card purchases were failing. Queues built up at petrol stations and shopping was left at supermarket tills as customers were unable to pay.
Lisa Eagleton-Muir, 44, who had come to London to audition for the Great British Sewing Bee, could not buy any food at King’s Cross station for her return rail journey to Newcastle.
” I’ve only got two cards and they’re both Visa. I tried to buy my tea in M& S and a coffeehouse but they were both rejected. I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s a long journey home with no food .” She later see she could withdraw money from a cash machine.
A spokesman for the supermarket chain Asda said some pays had gone through but others had not.
” When you try to pay something, it sends a message to Visa and then Visa have to send a message back to the chip and pin machine to say this is OK and then the banks are in between at some phase. The message that is coming back to the chip and pin, that is where the defect is ,” the spokesman said.
It is understood the Bank of England immediately contacted Visa to find out when its system would be back up and running. One banking industry source said:” There is never a good time for the payments system to go down but a Friday afternoon, when there is a flood of people leaving work, must be among the worst .”
In Spain, the Guardia Civil sent a tweet aimed at reassuring those affected by the system failure. Beneath a picture of Johnny Depp as a shocked Captain Jack Sparrow, the security forces said:” Stay calm. If you can’t pay it’s not because you’ve been robbed or hacked. Visa is suffering a service crash in Europe that’s stopping payments going through in its cards .”
Bank customers in the UK were still able to obtain cash from ATMs, which led to big queues forming at cash machines.
The Visa spokesman said on Friday:” The questions was the outcome of a hardware failing. We have no reason to believe this was associated with any unauthorised access or malicious event .”
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