THERE was chaos at shops, pubs and restaurants across the UK last night after thousands of businesses were left unable to process card payments due to a network meltdown.
Customers of Tesco, Asda, Boots, Sky Bet and Vue Cinemas were affected, reporting that their credit and debit cards had been declined or could not be authorised.
As a result, many were forced to abandon shopping and give up on their purchases.
Marks & Spencer, which was affected nationwide, said on Twitter the fault was due to a ‘problem’ with card provider Visa. But Asda told Metro payments processing company Worldpay was to blame.
A spokesman for Visa said: ‘Yesterday, a large card processor experienced a system issue that temporarily impacted a number of Visa transactions. The processor has since resolved the issue.
Visa’s network continues to operate normally.’
Sage Pay Support tweeted that Worldpay was ‘experiencing authorisation issues between 18.43 and 19.16’ last night.
It is thought the problems did not affect cash machines but online card payments were also hit.
Last night’s chaotic scenes came after a similar fault with the Visa network in June, when people were unable to pay for goods and services, and there were long queues at the tolls on the Severn Bridges between England and Wales.
At the time, the company apologised and blamed a ‘hardware failure’. Among the businesses affected last night was the Caxton Arms pub in Brighton, which was full of customers, 75 per cent of whom were left unable to pay for drinks.
A member of staff said: ‘It’s really not ideal on a busy night — it might affect our takings.’
Shopper Natalie Lane wrote on Twitter: ‘Absolutely fuming. Just spent an hour shopping at Asda, got to till, laid it out, to be told the card machines are all down so can’t serve unless you have cash.’
Vijay Taak in Nottingham said he had visited Asda, Sainsbury’s, Iceland and Aldi, and all were unable to take cards, while Daniel Kenig said he saw long queues and ‘abandoned shopping baskets’ at his local store.
Matt Lambert, at a London branch of Marks & Spencer, added: ‘No one can pay. So annoying, especially after ringing through an entire basket of shopping.’