MADRID – On Saturday around noon there was a temporary nationwide outage in electronic payment systems in Spain. This malfunction was due to a system failure at Redsys, the largest payment service.
Due to a system error at Redsys, payments with EC or credit cards in bars, restaurants and shops were impossible for a few hours. ATMs and the popular payment service Bizum also experienced problems. The exact cause of the malfunction is still unclear.
Consequences of the malfunction
The disruption led to long queues locally at supermarkets, shops and catering establishments, where card payments could not be processed. Electronic transfers were also temporarily not possible. Consumers complained a lot about the outage on social media.
Reaction from banks
Several banks, including BBVA and CaixaBank, confirmed the outage of their payment systems. Redsys reported via Twitter at 2:45 PM, more than two hours after the outage, that the problem had been resolved and the payment systems were functioning normally again. The company emphasized that the problem was internal and ruled out an external attack.
Informamos que están solventadas las degradaciones de servicio de pagos de la última hora, exclusivamente vinculadas a las líneas de comunicación interna.
— Redsys (@Redsys_es) November 18, 2023
A crucial role in Spanish payments
Redsys, with a history of more than 40 years, is trusted by more than 60 Spanish banks. The platform is internationally known for its speed and security. In 2019, Spanish banks merged three existing payment systems – Redsys, Iberpay and Cecabank’s payment platform. While this resulted in cost savings, the concentration on one platform makes the impact of outages greater as almost all customers across the country are affected at the same time.
Trend towards less cash
According to the European Central Bank, the use of cash in Spain fell by 18% between 2019 and 2022, one of the largest declines in Europe. A figure only surpassed by Cyprus (with 23%).
Also read: Bank limits for cash withdrawals in Spain