"We are now experiencing a service disruption which is preventing some Visa transactions in Europe from being processed", a Visa spokesman told AFP. The Bank of England, which regulates Visa in the United Kingdom, said it is aware of the issue and is working with the company to solve the problem.
A Visa spokesperson confirmed the outage but did not reveal any other details, such as its cause or its scale.
The company said it is investigating the cause of the disruption.
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Some non-Visa branded cards could also be affected, with a range of banks using the payment system.
Some retailers resorted to putting up notices to warn customers that they are unable to take card payments.
The Royal Bank of Scotland's Twitter help account said cash machine withdrawals were unaffected.
"Visa is now experiencing a service disruption. It is affecting all payment providers across the United Kingdom and Ireland".More news: Google will end Project Maven military contract in 2019
Mastercard said its payment network was functioning normally. She says that the outage has been coming in waves, so it is hard to know whether the cards will work or not. We had to pay in cash.
Large queues have been sen forming outside Asda in Queensferry as people draw cash from ATM's. "This is an issue with Visa and not us I'm afraid".
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.More news: Telegram app not GDPR complaint as Apple blocks updates following Russian Federation ban