Today, it was known via different social feeds that the platform of VISA, the credit card provider giant, was facing operative difficulties this afternoon in some parts of Europe and the United Kingdom. The same company acknowledges this issues in a tweet earlier today:
Visa is the second larger credit payment organization in the whole world, only behind China UnionPay. Visa transactions worldwide make for a big chunk of all cashless payments made. According to an article from the BBC, Visa transactions account for one euro of every three euros spent. The downtime in their platform affected many people who had their purchases neglected by the POS systems. People complained being very vocal in social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Multiple users complained about being charged in their accounts for purchases that marked as failed or incomplete, like these ones:
Many people also reported being unable to pay for products and having to leave their groceries in the shops:
The outage went on during the whole afternoon and the company apologized by the problems created by this outage and reported that the payment network had returned to normality, but did not explain the technical reasons why the platform failed. Despite this, some users still reported that they were still experiencing problems. Visa did not comment on the possible refunds for the affected customers.
This kind of outage only reaffirms the need for decentralized, secure and trustable payment networks, like the ones cryptocurrencies offer. The advantage of decentralized networks is that even if some parts of the network are down, the other parts can bear the charge and still keep operating. Centralized payment networks like the one Visa represents have some advantages, but they also are prone to outages and downtimes even if they have backup systems programmed. The losses due to this outage have not been calculated yet, but most stores were unable to collect credit and debit payments for a whole afternoon.