Visa customers in parts of the U.K. and Europe weren’t able to use their cards on Friday (June 1) after a system failure prevented transactions from being processed.
“Visa had a system failure that impacted customers across Europe,” the company said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Visa also revealed that the problem was the result of a hardware failure, and that by late Friday, cards in Europe were operating at close to normal levels.
“We have no reason to believe this was associated with any unauthorized access or malicious event,” the company said.
Most of Visa’s card transactions in Europe are processed outside of London, so that is where the company has focused its investigation and discovered the hardware failure.
Visa apologized to cardholders and merchants, saying it “fell well short” of its goal of ensuring that all of its cards work reliably 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Visa is the largest network in Europe, accounting for about 66 percent of card purchase volume there as of 2016, and about 50 percent of card purchase volume in the U.K.
Earlier this year, Visa announced that Visa Checkout, the online payment method introduced in the U.K. last year, hit a milestone by securing one million customer accounts.
The company said the U.K. is now among the fastest growing markets for Visa Checkout. Since its launch, the company has seen several merchant integrations, spanning names such as lastminute.com in Ireland, Domino’s, AXS, Ebuyer, HMV, Mighty Deals and Match.com.
The disruption was an inconvenience for both businesses and consumers. A variety of merchants took to Twitter to apologize, as consumers were forced to use other cards or cash.
“This is really terrible,” said Heather Bateman, 29 years old, who was trying to pay for drinks at The Globe Tavern in central London. “I am going to have to go to the bank and get cash.”