How agile independents avoided Visa chaos

Shopkeepers across the UK managed to maintain sales and keep customers satisfied during the visa meltdown.

Shopkeepers across the UK managed to maintain sales and keep customers satisfied on Friday, despite a widespread issue preventing visa card transactions.

The incident, which Visa claimed was down to a hardware issue, blocked visa card payments for eight hours over the busy payday Friday trading period. Cash withdrawals were unaffected.

Customers vented frustration at their treatment in chain grocery stores, and staff at multiples also reported being verbally abused by customers. However, it was a different picture in the nation’s 37,000 independent convenience stores.

Gaurave Sood from Neelam Newsagents in Uxbridge said the incident caused long queues in his store, but he was able to keep customers shopping through using the Post Office counter sited next to the till to process cash withdrawals.

In an example of an independent providing services beyond the grasp of multiples, the shop owner also extended credit to those struggling to pay. “After being here for over four decades, we know most of our customers on our residential estate,” he said.

Natalie Lightfoot from Londis Solo Convenience in Glasgow said till banter was key to keeping sales up. “We had long queues to start with but we didn’t lose a single sale. Free-to-use cash machine to the rescue! So we even had an uplift in those transactions,” she added.

Visa apologised to retailers for the issues with a spokesperson stating: “We fell well short of this goal today and we apologise to all of our partners.”

While the hardware issue is fixed, others remain for customers, with some reporting being charged twice for attempted visa card transactions that took place over the period.

Read more: Card firms accused of overcharging retailers by as much as £40,000


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