According to the Associated Press, Visa and Mastercard are halting operations in Russia, dealing another severe blow to the country’s financial sector. Visa says it’s working with Russian partners to “stop all transactions in the coming days,” according to a statement on the company’s website. Mastercard issued a supplementary press statement with a similar message, stating that it is halting services in Russia and that its decision was not made “lightly.”
Both firms state that transactions conducted with Mastercard or Visa cards issued by Russian banks will not operate outside the country, and that cards provided by foreign banks will not work at Russian businesses or ATMs. Visa CEO Al Kelly said, “We regret the impact this will have on our valued staff, as well as the customers, partners, retailers, and cardholders we serve in Russia.” “We must respond following our beliefs in response to this conflict and the continuous danger to peace and stability.”
According to Bloomberg, anyone with a Russian-issued card will be able to pay for goods and services using Mastercard and Visa cards, but neither banking institution will execute the transactions; Instead, Russia’s National Payment Card System (NSPK) would be responsible. The announcement by Visa and Mastercard comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with US senators and requested that both firms’ businesses in Russia be halted.
Following the discussion with Zelensky, Congressman Brad Sherman tweeted, “Pleased to learn that Mastercard and Visa would be ceasing all activities in Russia effective immediately.” In response to US financial sanctions against Russia, Visa and Mastercard blocked several Russian institutions from their networks earlier this week. “This decision is the result of our recent action to block several financial institutions from the Mastercard payment network, as mandated by authorities throughout the world,” adds Mastercard.