Visa told to hire PwC following IT failure

The Bank of England has ordered credit card giant Visa to appoint accountancy giant PwC to help avoid a repeat of an outage that caused chaos last year.

A systems failure at the firm in June impacted 5.2 million card transactions, including 2.4 million in the UK, and prompted MPs to launch an inquiry into IT fiascos at financial firms.

On Friday, the central bank said that it is using statutory powers to direct Visa to fully implement the recommendations of an independent review, which found that it was unprepared for the failure and failed to communicate effectively with those impacted.

This includes requiring the firm to appoint PwC to “assess Visa Europe’s progress in implementing these recommendations”.

The Bank said the incident had the potential to affect confidence in the financial system, but acknowledged that Visa has accepted all of the recommendations and is committed to implementing them.

Visa has said the issue was caused by a “very rare partial failure” of a switch in one of its data centres, which meant its back-up centre could not automatically process all transactions.

It has since fixed the issue and said it was taking “all necessary steps” to prevent the failure happening again, while also improving its incident response and compensating customers where necessary.

The action taken on Friday does not imply the breach of a regulatory requirement and does not constitute an enforcement action, the Bank said.

PwC will provide a final report to the Bank later this year assessing the progress in the implementation of each recommendation

A third of all spending in the UK is processed by Visa.

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