back to article Visa Europe fscks up Friday night with other GDPR: 'God Dammit, Payment Refused'

Businesses and punters in Europe are in for a long and frustrating night – after Visa's payment services in the region went TITSUP: a Total Inability To Support Usual Purchases. The credit card processor confirmed Friday it had suffered an outage and was working on a solution. Right now, you can't buy stuff online or in stores …

Not Total Inability To Support Usual Payments?

Total Inability To Support Usurious Plastic?

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El Reg is suffering Total Inability To Supply Unique Pun

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Anonymous Coward

Some things are priceless. For everything else - there's MasterCard.

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FAIL

Ah! That was the problem.

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Useless, incompetent bastards

Maybe you should have invested some of last year's $12bn pre tax profit into basic stuff like the systems and procedures to operate reliably?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lessons will be learned.

Such as how often a reduction or loss of service the market can bear while still taking in $12 pre tax profit per year.

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Re: Useless, incompetent bastards

When was the last Visa outage again?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Useless, incompetent bastards

I'll post this nice and near the top - not saying its the issue but...

https://perspectives.mvdirona.com/2017/04/at-scale-rare-events-arent-rare/

TL;DR? running big data centres is hard regardless of how much you spend...

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Anonymous Coward

Cash in the Northern Quarter? Good luck with that one.

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Facepalm

Fools and their credit...

Why, oh why did VISA schedule upgrading to Windows 10 Spring 2018 Edition on a Friday!

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Re: Fools and their credit...

That's the problem, they didn't schedule it. It was forced down their as..., erm throa... erm machines.

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Anonymous Coward

Cashless society

So we’re being told the future is cashless.

Yet many were only able to purchase stuff using cash.

Not a great advert for cashless is it?

I for one do not want to see a cashless society. A system crash, power outage or a communications failure would be sufficient to make us all literally penny less.

So that’s a no thanks from me.

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Re: Cashless society

...also something like The Carrington Event

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Re: Cashless society

Rather that than The Cricklewood Incident

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Re: Cashless society

If a piece of hardware can block some half a billion visa cards from working...what the heck could a determined hacker do?

Seriously, multi-million pound profit companies have better hardware redundancy...

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Re: Cashless society

I'd rather have the odd outage than carry stuff with inherent value around with me. I can block everything else when I lose it. I've had to use cash about 5 times this year due to dinosaur organisations, hopefully they'll catch up soon.

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Re: Cashless society

In the future ordinary people will have no money anyway, so it won't make any difference. Look at the graphs - everywhere on the Web - showing the increasing proportion of wealth owned by the richest 1% (or less).

Ordinary people will bunk in dormitories run by their owners, er employers, eat at company troughs, er canteens, and work the rest of the time to pay some of the interest on their ever-increasing debts.

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Re: Cashless society

"It was caused by a hardware failure" is no excuse - it is not even an adequate explanation.

I think I may call this Archtech's Rule. (It's high time I had one of my own).

"Anyone who decides to do something using a computer system is fully responsible for ALL consequences of that decision. There is no 'the computer made me do it' or 'the computer ate your money'".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cashless society

and that is history repeating itself.

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Closed, time-like curves

"Ordinary people will bunk in dormitories run by their owners, er employers, eat at company troughs, er canteens, and work the rest of the time to pay some of the interest on their ever-increasing debts."

cf Company Scrip.

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Re: Cashless society

"I'd rather have the odd outage than carry stuff with inherent value around with me. "

Says the bloke with no smartphone? And no experience of ID theft either :)

My wife and my mum don't like carrying cash around, and both have had their card cloned and lost several hundred quid as a result. We only got it back (my mum was too embarrassed to argue) when I made a complaint, as the card was used in the Netherlands and then in Malaysia an hour apart. Oh, and it got declined 8 times at the Malaysian ATM, but it turns out that if you keep trying it'll work (!?!?!).

" I've had to use cash about 5 times this year due to dinosaur organisations"

You're doing pretty well then. I have to, about once a month, pay cash because some twat hasn't got any, and their plastic doesn't work at the particular venue we're at. No, not every shop takes Visa/Amex/MC. No, your UK debit card won't work on the European network. Yes, it's annoying. Yes, it's exactly what happened last time.....

Funniest was going to giant snuffelmarkt (flea market), and my friend was confused at why he couldn't pay by card the one euro entrance fee or pretty much any of the stalls.

Kids these days....

Then again, I'm old fashioned enough to keep savings in gold and silver.

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Re: Cashless society

If a piece of hardware can block some half a billion visa cards from working

That was my first thought when I heard about it on the radio - this was not caused by a hardware failure, this was caused by inadequate/faulty business continuity planning. If the BC plan had been adequate AND had been correctly implemented, then there would have been a minimal outage for a minimal period of time.

The scale of the outage (EU wide) and it's duration clearly shout that the BC plan was not adequate or was not correctly followed. So it was a preventable outage.

So what's that about having all your eggs in one basket ? Can't remember the last time I was offered the opportunity of having a Mastercard, it seemed everything was Visa these days.

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Re: Cashless society

...also something like The Carrington Event

...also something like A Carrington Event

FTFY

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Re: Cashless society

Almost as if the immediate PR explanation is a bit sketchy, or something

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Re: Cashless society

Hardware failure should never take down systems like these, because they should be designed to cope with the predictable event where the one HD pops just when the HDS pair is offline for maintenance whils the UPS is temporarily in an 'at risk'; state....

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Re: Cashless society

Simultaneous identical ( or complementary) hardware failure on all their backups ? Wow.

Bad luck's a bugger. Really hurts when it hits, eh ?

Obviously there wouldn't be a single point of failure or a domino crash in a professionally-engineered system. So maybe it was done by amateurs, or worse, accountants.

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Re: Cashless society

"No, your UK debit card won't work on the European network."

I call bullshit. I take a road trip across Europe every year and have to buy fuel, food and on occasion get cash out of an ATM, and can confirm that my UK debit card always works just fine in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary and Bulgaria. Also always worked fine in US. Further, you pre-emptively contradicted your own previous statement on this very subject by saying:

"... card cloned and lost several hundred quid as a result. We only got it back (my mum was too embarrassed to argue) when I made a complaint, as the card was used in the Netherlands and then in Malaysia an hour apart"

So the cloned card did in fact work in Netherlands and Malaysia?

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Re: Cashless society

- I don't carry cash.

- I've never had a card cloned (stop letting it out of your sight / refuse to plug it into anything dodgy-looking).

- I have an app for my bank that tells me if anyone is doing anything on my card, and specifically warns me immediately on big transactions. You can't do that with cash, and it's a prudent thing to do on any account.

- I carry several different types of card (it's not hard, a pre-pay MasterCard/Visa card costs you virtually nothing and works in every country I've ever tried it).

- At the end of the day, I'm not reliant on the card to purchase anything THERE AND THEN. Any significant purchase is considered, planned and done in advance. I've not going to starve even if Visa goes offline for a week.

Do you people not use Direct Debit for your bills, your mortgage/rent, your council tax? How is that any different?

Side-point: I've never been mugged or burgled. But for sure if I had, I've rather they stole cards I can cancel than cash that would just disappear.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cashless society

Cashless is all well and good, assuming you're happy with all your purchases being tracked and profiled ot course.

However, always ensure you have enough cash in for your last meal and a few drinks so you can sit back and watch the world collapse into chaos with a full stomach.

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Re: Cashless society

Archtech are you John McDonnel in disguise?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cashless society

@LeeD you are a smug twat and I claim my $5

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Re: Cashless society

Or may be they, like all the other financial IT systems in the world, have a complicated system which has been carefully engineerd to be redundant but where people missed some obscure chain of events where there was not enough redundancy. If you've worked in financial IT you'll understand how common that is, and how hard it is to get right.

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Re: Closed, time-like curves

"cf Company Scrip."

Precisely.

Ordinary working people got out from under following WW2, but by 1980 normal service was being resumed.

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Re: Cashless society

"Bad luck's a bugger. Really hurts when it hits, eh ?"

To which I reply with:

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have".

- Thomas Jefferson

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Re: Cashless society

" I take a road trip across Europe every year and have to buy fuel, food and on occasion get cash out of an ATM, and can confirm that my UK debit card always works just fine in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary and Bulgaria".

Except when it doesn't - as the article points out.

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Re: Cashless society

Who he?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cashless society

"I take a road trip across Europe every year and have to buy fuel, food and on occasion get cash out of an ATM, and can confirm that my UK debit card always works just fine"

We drove east on the M4 from Bristol on Friday and wondered why the westbound M4 was solid and notr moving all the way to the Bath junction .... later on we heard the news of long delays at the Severn Bridge tolls due to people getting to the barrier and finding they were unable to pay by card - assuming the queue was going all that way then that's a 25 mile queue.

Anyway, it perhaps explains why the bridge authorities resisited these new fangled credit/debit cards for decades!

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Trollface

Should've gone serverless

No hardware, no problem.

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Re: Closed, time-like curves

"I load sixteen tons,

What do ya get?

Another day older and deeper in debt.

I load sixteen tons,

What do ya get?

And I owe my soul to the company store."

- Sixteen Tons (My preference is the Tennessee Ernie Ford version of it, but ymmv.)

That was a Thing; It was largely outlawed in the 1930's here in the Untied Snakes of Amerika, but there are probably a few that still exist here and world-wide. Nice idea in that magical place known as Theory, but here in Reality? Not so much.

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Re: Cashless society

Went to a beer festival last year- the organisers were touting the whole event as cashless and were telling people not to bother bringing cash- even went as far as insinuated that cash would probably not be accepted. When I got there, there were massive lines at all the paypoints, turns out the entire credit card system had crashed. Thankfully, I'd bought cash with me. On the plus side, there wasn't any queues at any of the bars.

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Joke

TITSUP

"Tonight I Tried Some Unusual Payments.

The barman took the promissory note from me and I stood bemused as he proceeded to put it in a little drawer that went "ding" as it opened. No PIN was requested and he kept the note, telling me to bog off when I asked for it back. How am I to pay for the next round without my promissory note if they won't give it back? Should I call the police?"

Have we reached that stage yet?

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How long before the cash machines are empty?

Glad I bought beer before all this started.

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In the pub early or using cash?

It started not long after lunch.

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You-all might be joking but I wouldn't be totally surprised if they did end up blaming GDPR. If this doesn't affect the rest of the planet then someone's gonna have to find something else pretty damn interesting to blame...

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Well, the sort of acceptable scapegoats this week are GDPR, Climate Change, Iran, or Trump. Which would you pick?

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Anonymous Coward

Trump. Always!

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The bloody awful Warsaw Concerto.

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acceptable scapegoats this week are GDPR, Climate Change, Iran, or Trump. Which would you pick?

Yes.

I'm sure that, ultimately, they are all the same root cause..

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Anonymous Coward

Spike Milligan reference!

You Sir, deserve a beer!

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I will never not blame the bloody awful Warsaw Concerto.

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