Customers are being left stranded at the tills due to a “service disruption” impacting Visa cards.
Some businesses are currently unable to process payments made using Visa cards, impacting potentially millions of customers.
“Visa is currently experiencing a service disruption. This incident is preventing some Visa transactions in Europe from being processed,” a Visa spokesperson told Sky News.
Video: ‘Sort it out’: Customer slams Visa
“We are investigating the cause and working as quickly as possible to resolve the situation,” they added.
£1 in every £3 spent in the UK is on a Visa card.
Around two hours after the fault came to light, some payments were reported to be working “intermittently”.
Image: Some payments made by Visa cards are failing
The extent and cause of the problem has not yet been clarified by Visa, nor have they stated whether retailers will be compensated for lost earnings.
Retailers including Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s have confirmed they have been affected, with Sainsbury’s commenting: “We are aware that Visa are currently experiencing problems. We are doing our best to help our customers and apologise for any inconvenience.”
The Visa disruption is not exhaustive, with Transport For London not reporting any problems from Visa contactless users on their services.
Image: A KFC in Weston-super-Mare had to post a sign to warn customers that they could only accept cash. Credit: Dan Heley
Some retailers are resorting to putting up notices to warn customers that they are unable to take card payments.
Business owners are angry that they are losing sales as a result.
Sandra Foy, who owns a bookshop in Manchester, told Sky News: “I run a small business and the loss of any business is a big deal for us. Not knowing when this is going to be sorted out is incredibly frustrating.”
The payments were not working by the time she had to close her shop and Ms Foy fears the impact on her business if the issues run into tomorrow.
“It wasn’t working when I left work. It will impact badly if it is still down tomorrow, Saturday being our busiest day.”
We are currently experiencing a service disruption which is preventing some Visa transactions in Europe from being processed. We are investigating the cause and working as quickly as possible to resolve the situation. We will keep you updated.
— VisaNewsEurope (@VisaNewsEurope) June 1, 2018
She tweeted her transaction provider, asking: “Are we going to be compensated for the loss of money?”.
The company, Paymentsense, replied: “Hi Sandra, we are very sorry for the inconvenience but this is a nationwide issue and is out of our control. We will provide an update once we have one from our partners.”
Paymentsense is one of a number of payment transaction companies reporting that merchants using their service are struggling to take Visa card payments.
Worldpay, the UK’s leading payments provider, said: “Customers may be seeing intermittent transaction declines due to an issue Visa is currently experiencing in Europe with all acquirers.
“We will provide an update as soon as we have one. We are experiencing higher than normal call volumes.”
Customers may be seeing intermittent transaction declines due to an issue Visa is currently experiencing in Europe with all acquirers. We will provide an update as soon as we have one. We are experiencing higher than normal call volumes. We appreciate your patience.
— Worldpay UK (@Worldpay_UK) June 1, 2018
Lloyds Bank released a statement saying: “We are aware of an industry wide issue effecting Visa payments which is under investigation.
“ATM and Mastercard transactions are not impacted. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”
We are aware of an industry wide issue effecting Visa payments which is under investigation. ATM and Mastercard transactions are not impacted. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
— Lloyds Bank (@AskLloydsBank) June 1, 2018
Paymentsense provides transaction services to over 60,000 independent businesses across the UK and Ireland.
In a statement posted online, the company said: “There is currently a disruption of service in taking payments from VISA. It is affecting all payment providers across the UK and Ireland”.
Paymentsense say they are in touch with Visa and have apologised to customers “for any inconvenience”.
Around two hours after reporting the problems, Paymentsense has said transactions are starting to go through but “there is still some intermittency.”
Customers have also used Twitter to vent about being unable to pay or being forced to get cash out.
Manchester-based user MancBee, posted a picture of a sign on the front of an Aldi supermarket that informed customers card payments were down.
“We’ve just been shopping and my Visa card didn’t work. Thankfully it did work at the cash machine, on the side of the bank. We had to pay in cash. Bloody nuisance,” said another Twitter user.
Shopper Leo Mackillop, 27, from south west London, told Sky News: “The queue in the local Co-op was huge. Luckily I had cash but other people had to leave the queue and till to get cash from outside. They looked really irritated.”
Image: Shops quickly filled up as customers had issues paying with Visa cards. Credit: Leo Mackillop
Dan Heley, 30, from Luton and living in Weston-Super-Mare, posted a photo of KFC warning customers that they were unable to accept cards.
He told Sky News: “I’m not too affected as I generally carry a bit of cash, but there were cars turning around after seeing notices saying they couldn’t use their card.
“Earlier in Morrison’s there was frustrated parents with crying kids because the mum couldn’t buy the tea for tonight, it’s totally unacceptable, I wouldn’t be surprised if Russian hackers were to blame.”
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My card was declined on contactless payment at the chippy (fish supper on #nationalfishandchipday of course!) so I put it through on chip and pin. Checked my online banking and the “declined” payment was charged so people need to check they aren’t being double charged #visa
— Ian Little (@ianjlittle) June 1, 2018
Some customers have reported they are being billed for payments that were displayed in-store as declined.
Despite reports that huge tailbacks at the Severn Bridge, which links England and Wales, were caused by the Visa problems, Highways England says a broken down car is responsible for the congestion.