Visa 'system failure' causes widespread payment issues across Ireland and rest of Europe

Irish banks and retailers reported problems with card payments on Friday evening

Updated 22.05

Visa has experienced a "system failure" that left businesses across Europe - including Ireland - unable to process payments.

On Friday night, Visa said services were returning to normal after several hours of disruption.

In a statement, the payment company said: "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 today and we apologise to all of our partners, and most especially, to Visa cardholders. 

"Visa cardholders can now use their Visa cards as we are currently operating at close to normal levels. The issue was the result of a hardware failure."

The company added that it had "no reason to believe this was associated with any unauthorised access or malicious event".

They had earlier described the issue as a 'service disruption'.

There were widespread reports of issues from Irish banks and businesses on Friday evening:

AIB said it was "aware of intermittent issues with AIB cards today."

It said it was working to resolve the matter and apologised for any inconvenience caused. 

Bank of Ireland said it was "aware some customers are experiencing Visa debit card issues."

It said the problem was "impacting multiple banks across Europe" and noted that "cash withdrawals can be made at any Bank of Ireland ATM." 

Business owners were quick to voice their anger online.

One Twitter user called Sandra Foy tweeted Paymentsense asking "are we going to be compensated for the loss of money?"

The company 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."

Picture by: Sebastian Gollnow/DPA/PA Images