Worldpay stops turning in the UK, leaving trail of thoroughly miffed retailers and customers

Payments provider cops to 'processing issues' caused by 'equipment change'

Global online payment provider Worldpay is experiencing an ongoing outage affecting businesses and organisations in the UK.

The company, acquired by FIS in July 2019 for $43bn, said in a statement to The Register: "Worldpay from FIS is experiencing processing issues in certain markets believed to be driven by an equipment change issue.

"Payments through our card terminals are not affected. We are working with our equipment vendor to resolve this issue as a matter of urgency and hope to have the issue resolved soon."

Worldpay would not disclose which equipment provider was the source of the issue.

The statement came as readers wrote in to The Reg to complain, and multiple UK organisations and their customers took to Twitter to vent their frustration over the outage.

One of the more serious effects has been students unable to pay their exam fees with the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, which certifies professional beancounters in the UK. Among those voicing their frustration was a Twitter user who posted a screenshot of the error page.

At around 12:30pm, ICAEW tweeted: "Due to continued technical issues, we've delayed opening the exam booking system until Monday 20 July at 10am (UK time). This will allow time to fully investigate and resolve. Please accept our apologies for the stress and anxiety this will have caused you."

One student responded: "After causing distress and anxiety a week ago. You've now implemented a queue system which doesn't even work? And then when you eventually get in, it kicks you out after 10 mins even though you can't actually book anything. Meaning you have to rejoin the queue. Unacceptable."

At nearly 3pm UK time it posted an update: "WorldPay have confirmed they now have limited servers running. The queue has restarted, at a much slower rate, to ensure payments are processing correctly."

The ICAEW has so far not responded to The Register's request for comment.

Online tech help firm Team Knowhow, which is part of DSG Retail (which runs Dixons) and The Carphone Warehouse Limited, also seemed to be experiencing problems with payments, according to its response to Twitter users.

Other businesses and organisations affected by the Worldpay outage include online retailer The Nautical Company, which at 10:30am UK time said: "We are losing orders as we speak, impossible to process phone transactions either, we can't even tell our customers how long it will last."

The Environment Agency, cheese retailer The Court Yard Dairy and ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne were also affected.

Worldpay - formerly RBS Worldpay before it was acquired by global third-party payment processing giant FIS in 2019 - suffered a two-week outage back in 2016, during which millions of daily payments were blocked and many customers were left unable to receive cash from gambling operators and e-commerce sites.

As UK retailers struggle to recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19 and focus on shifting business online, the latest Worldpay outage could not have come at a worse time. ®

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