Visa's Friday the thirteenth...

If you have a Visa credit or debit card and tried to use it on Friday morning, there's a strong chance your card would have been refused, as Visa's pan-European network was hit by a major glitch, it seems.

Visa claims its back-up system was in operation by mid-day, and its primary authorisation system was functional again by 3:30pm.

I remember a country-wide problem hitting Visa and Mastercard transactions in Germany for a full day a number of years back - and, of course, it was check-out time at the hotel where I was staying.

Fortunately my ancient but trusty Amex card came to the rescue, as Amex maintains a discrete country-by-country authorisations system which is all but bullet-proof. Basically Amex will work when others cards are facing a transaction meltdown.

I was amused that news reports quote Visa as saying several hundred of its cardholders were hit by the glitch.

Make that hundreds of thousands more like...