A spokesperson from Visa said: “Visa is currently experiencing a service disruption.
“This incident is preventing some Visa transactions in Europe from being processed.
“We are investigating the cause and working as quickly as possible to resolve the situation.”
Frustrated Visa customers took to social media to vent.
One said: “Sat in a bar in Vienna, can’t pay the bill because visa is down everywhere… and then an advert for visa debit comes on. Oh the irony.”
Another said: “So visa and MasterCard have gone down and I kid you not, London has gone into meltdown. Ya’ll it’s the apocalypse.”
Others described scenes of “bedlam” in supermarkets.
Paymentsense, an organisation which offers card facilities to small and medium-sized companies, confirmed the issue was affecting businesses across the UK,
They Tweeted: “There is currently a disruption of service in taking payments from Visa. It is affecting all payment providers across the UK and Ireland.
“We are in touch with Visa to help provide a fix to this and we’ll issue an update via our social channels and email as soon as we have one.”
The outage has badly disrupted families spending half-term on holiday abroad.
One Twitter user said: “On holiday in Sicily. Car hire has messed up and #visadown means card declined for trains.
“We owe our hosts €350 and need to get to Palermo from Taormina for flights.”
More to follow…