Visa payments 'back to normal' as company apologises for major system failure

Visa said it is now operating at near-normal levels. (Martin Keene/PA) Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie

Visa has apologised after a system failure left thousands of customers across the UK and Europe unable to pay by card.

The company released a statement on Saturday morning saying the system was now operating at "full capacity", admitting it had fallen "well short" of its goal to ensure cards worked reliably at all times.

Visa users complained about the issue on social media on Friday evening, which was the result of a hardware failure.

A Visa spokesman 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."

A statement released on Friday night had added: “Our goal is to ensure all Visa cards work reliably 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“We fell well short of this goal... and we apologise to all of our partners and, most especially, to Visa cardholders.

“The issue was the result of a hardware failure. We have no reason to believe this was associated with any unauthorised access or malicious event.”

HSBC’s UK Twitter account replied to a customer query on Twitter: “We believe there may have recently been issues with Visa’s payments processing.

“From what we understand there are still intermittent issues but services are slowly recovering.”

It is understood the Bank of England was in touch with Visa about the problem.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said the issue will have been a “huge inconvenience to customers” and said Visa and the banks need to ensure no-one is left out of pocket.

“We strongly advise people to keep any evidence of extra expenses they’ve incurred in order to claim them back,” she said.