HOT OFF THE WIRE

Visa payment disruption hits Europe

Visa payment disruption hits Europe

Visa payment disruption hits Europe

  • 1 June 2018
Image caption A Sainsbury's store in Vauxhall, London, is not taking card payments

Customers across the UK and Europe have been unable to pay for some of their purchases with Visa cards because of a network failure.

Shoppers reported being stuck in queues in supermarkets and petrol stations as Visa transactions could not be processed.

Banks have advised customers that they can still withdraw cash from ATMs.

Visa says it is working to resolve the issue. Mastercard and American Express said they were not affected.

Payment processing through Visa's systems accounts for £1 in £3 of all UK spending, the company said.

Paymentsense, which runs card services for small businesses, said some transactions were now starting to go through but there was a backlog.

Responding to complaints on social media, HSBC said there were issues with processing Visa payments, which were intermittent, but were "slowly recovering".

However, the Post Office reminded people they could still use their Visa debit cards to withdraw cash at its branches over the weekend.

  • Customer choice under threat at Britain's banks
  • Visa considers cashless scheme for UK
  • Why cash is king: Five situations where cards don't cut it

Jay Curtis, from Swansea, had two cards declined in B&Q when he tried to pay for £240 worth of goods.

"My card just wouldn't go through," the 32-year-old told the BBC.

"I didn't have cash on me so I had to drive all the way home."

Labour MP Angela Rayner seems to be among those affected, tweeting that she had to leave her local petrol station without paying.

Elle Gibbs-Murray, from Bridgend, said she was stuck in traffic on the Severn Bridge for 45 minutes as drivers were unable to pay the toll by card.

Image caption Adam is one of many unable to use their Visa payment card

Adam, from Manchester, is a on a canal boat holiday with his girlfriend, Rach, and he is unable to use his card.

The 26-year-old said: "We have spent all day boating to moor up at a riverside pub in Kidlington for a birthday meal only to find the visa payments are not working. Having only £20 between us we have had to opt for a birthday drink instead.

"[There is] no cash point for miles around and no car as we are on the canal boat."

In Berlin's Alexanderplatz, customers at Primark complained of having to queue for 20 minutes to pay and staff there could not explain the reasons why transactions were failing.

Image copyright Deborah Elder
Image caption Deborah says she was embarrassed she couldn't pay for her meal

Deborah Elder, from Glasgow, was unable to pay her restaurant bill while she was waiting at Frankfurt airport to fly back to Toulouse.

She said: "I was so embarrassed. I gave the waiter the 14 euros I had left.

"I'm worried I won't be able to get home when I land in Toulouse as I have no cash for a taxi."

Supermarket Tesco said chip and pin payments were not affected, but contactless payments were.

Sainsbury's also said it was experiencing problems.

Banks, including the Bank of Ireland, have said cash withdrawals at ATMs can still be made.

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.

The Bank of England, which oversees electronic payment providers such as Visa, said it was "aware of the issue" and was "working with the firm to resolve the situation".

Transport for London said it expected customers to still be able to use their contactless payment cards to pay for travel on its buses, trains and Tubes.

However, Paymentsense, which runs card services for small businesses, said transactions were now starting to go through but there was a backlog.


Are you a Visa customer? Have your card payments been affected? You can share your experience by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

  • WhatsApp: +44 7555 173285
  • Send pictures/video to
  • Or upload your pictures/video here
  • Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
  • Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international)
  • Please read our terms & conditions and privacy policy

Or use the form below

Your contact details