Maestro users hit by down time

Maestro users hit by down time

Saturday's network breakdown affected thousands of cardholders

Users of Maestro payment cards faced rejection over the weekend because of a major network failure on Saturday afternoon.

As a result of the breakdown in the chip-and-PIN system, customers of major high street banks were told their accounts were empty and were unable to pay for goods.

Thousands of customers were affected by problems that were not resolved until the evening.

The crash comes shortly after the two-year anniversary of chip-and-PIN credit and debit cards in the UK, which has reduced face-to-face fraud by 47 per cent since 2005.

Maestro, owned by credit card company Mastercard, was not available to comment on the incident.