Visa tight-lipped on compensation for card users

Outage on Friday caused havoc across Ireland and Europe for shoppers and businesses

There were fears that if the outage was prolonged long queues would form and ATM machines would run out of money. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

There were fears that if the outage was prolonged long queues would form and ATM machines would run out of money. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

Visa has declined to clarify whether customers negatively affected by its “system failure” on Friday will receive compensation.

A Visa card outage caused problems across Ireland and Europe on Friday, creating long queues at ATMs and store checkouts as people found themselves unable to make cashless transactions.

While some Visa cards were still working in ATMs, there were fears that a prolonged outage could see long queues forming and machines would quickly run out of money ahead of the bank holiday.

In an update, Visa said the issue had been resolved and that its network was working normally. “If you attempted a Visa transaction that did not complete as a result of this issue, you should not be charged,” it said.

“A small number of cardholders may have pending transactions that could be limiting their spending ability. We are working with your banks to resolve this.”

In response to queries from The Irish Times as to whether customers who had been discommoded or suffered embarrassment due to the “hardware failure” within one of its European systems, a spokesman for Visa said there was “nothing to add” to previous statements.

Financial loss

Consumers’ Association of Ireland chief executive Dermott Jewell said shoppers should save any evidence of a financial loss they incurred.

“If consumers can show that they were unable to purchase something or complete a transaction, they should get in touch with their card provider and make the point,” he said.

“They should contact whoever issued the card to them – probably their bank in most cases – and ask them what they are going to do about it. That’s the only way we can test the water on this one.

“In other member states, consumers’ associations have been telling people to keep the details of it and send them on to the people who need to reimburse you. That would be people you have your contract with, which is the bank in most cases. It will be key to see what comes back from that.”

Mr Jewell said it was unclear whether individuals could be compensated for the embarrassment suffered.

“That kind of hurt is very difficult to determine,” he said. “Usually it requires legal action or medication, but through whom would you do it? An application to the Central Bank to suggest you have a problem and asking them for advice could be a start. The Financial Services Ombudsman would be your last recourse.

“In all honesty, it could be more costly for individual consumers to initiate that kind of a claim. It’s very hard to define the value of the loss.”