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Subject: Card payments system crash disrupts shoppers

Written By: Philip Eno on 10/02/10 at 11:06 am

Thousands of shoppers throughout the UK were unable to pay by credit or debit cards for a period this afternoon because of a computer problem.

Sainsbury's, Waitrose and B&Q were among the High Street names affected from about 1400 BST.

A spokesman for Sainsbury's said all 872 stores were hit for about 20 minutes but the system is getting back to normal.

B&Q and Waitrose say most transactions were processed using a back-up system.

B&Q says it has manual card payment equipment at its 330 stores and was able to deal with the transactions that way.

Waitrose said its problems began in petrol stations before spreading to supermarket branches. It was able to deal with 95% of payments via the back-up system.

A number of different banks run card payment IT systems for stores in the UK. It is understood not all systems have been affected.

Visa Europe said there was nothing wrong with its system.

On Twitter, the micro-blogging social network site, dozens of users reported the problem.

"Saturday afternoon in Sainsbury's. All card payments down. Chaos!" tweeted one user.

Another reported: "Sainsbury's on a Saturday - bedlam!"

Tesco said that, despite rumours, it had no reports of problems with its payments system.

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