Businesses are still experiencing delays

Visa experienced a 'system failure' that left businesses across the UK and Ireland unable to process payments for several hours.

There were widespread reports of problems across Europe on Friday evening.

In a statement on Friday night, Visa said services were returning to normal.

They said: "Our goal is to ensure all Visa cards work reliably 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We fell well short of this goal today and we apologise to all of our partners, and most especially, to Visa cardholders.

"The issue was the result of a hardware failure. We have no reason to believe this was associated with any unauthorised access or malicious event.”

Irish retailers and banks had previously confirmed issues with card payments.