Friday 8 March 2019 11:55 am

Bank of England takes action over Visa card payment outage

The Bank of England (BoE) has taken action against Visa following an outage last year that caused more than 2m card transactions to fail.

The BoE has announced supervisory action to ensure that Visa Europe enforces the recommendations made following an independent review by EY in the wake of the incident.

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It has also demanded that Visa Europe appoints Price Waterhouse Cooper to access its progress in implementing EY’s recommendations, which included improving its manual response and recovery capabilities and reviewing crisis management and communications protocols.

In a statement today the BoE said: “The incident resulted in widespread disruption to users of Visa Europe’s services and had the potential to affect confidence in the financial system.

“In light of this, and the importance of ensuring implementation of the remediation actions, the Bank has decided to use its statutory powers to direct Visa Europe to fully implement the recommendations of the independent review.”

The ten-hour service disruption in June last year was caused by a “partial degradation in [Visa’s] processing system”, and left thousands of customers unable to make card payments.

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In a letter to the Treasury Select Committee following the incident, Visa Europe chief executive Charlotte Hogg said: “At its peak, the disruption affected people in the midst of returning home from work, socialising in restaurants and pubs, and doing end-of-day shopping.

“We take seriously our important role in supporting financial stability in the UK. A disruption to our processing that impacts consumers at any time is unacceptable, let alone during a busy Friday afternoon.”