7th Jun 2018
Visa has been forced to apologise after millions of customers were left unable to use their cards to make chip and PIN payments across the UK and Europe last week.
The problem started at around 4pm on Friday 1 June when a service disruption prevented Visa transactions from being processed. Cards were declined in supermarkets, shops and bars, with Visa customers advised to withdraw cash from cash machines in order to make payments.
Visa issued a statement in which it apologised for falling “well short” of its reliability goal and said it had no reason to believe the hardware failure was down to “any unauthorised access of malicious event”.
Consumer advocacy group Which? advised people to keep evidence of extra expenses incurred in order to claim them back in the future.
"Visa and the banks need to ensure no-one is left out of pocket due to this outage,” said Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services. “Sadly, the outage could also lead to phishing emails, texts and scams, so beware of messages from people claiming to be Visa.”
Visa processes transactions for a number of banks, as well as thousands of businesses, with payment processing through Visa’s systems reportedly accounting for £1 in £3 of all UK spending.
Coming less than a month after TSB’s well publicised IT issues, the incident is a further reminder to financial services providers that computer problems can cause serious problems for their customers and risk damaging their reputation with those customers.