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Bank of England takes action over Visa outage

Bank of England takes action over Visa outage

The Bank of England is to take supervisory action against Visa following a widespread outage last year that disrupted payments for millions of shoppers across Europe.

More than five million transactions across Europe failed during Visa's 10 hour outage in June last year following a failure of a component in its primary data centre.

In the UK, 2.4 million transactions failed to process properly, with 1.7 million credit and debit cards affected.

Immediately following the incident, Visa Europe engaged an external party to conduct an independent review, with the scope agreed with both the Bank and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR).

Despite Visa's commitment to the remediation actions, the Bank of England says that it intends to use its statutory to direct the card scheme to fully implement the recommendations of the independent review.

As a further action, it is also using its powers to require Visa Europe to appoint an independent third party, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), to assess the company's progress in implementing the recommendations.

In a statement, the central bank says: "The incident resulted in widespread disruption to users of Visa Europe’s services and had the potential to affect confidence in the financial system. The Bank’s action is proportionate to the nature and impact of the incident."

Visa replies: “Visa’s mission is to connect the world through a reliable and safe payments system. We take our role in supporting UK and global commerce seriously, and that begins with our commitment to protect consumers, businesses and local economies. Since the service disruption in June 2018, we have implemented significant enhancements to our network, operations, and crisis management processes to ensure resilience of our systems and better coordination with our clients on behalf of consumers.”

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