Visa, Mastercard suddenly suspends all operations in Russia

On March 5, two of the world’s largest payment processing companies announced that they would suspend their operations in Russia.

Mastercard and Visa said Russian banks have been disconnected from the network and cards will not work with Russian merchants or ATMs.

“We haven’t downplayed this decision. Mastercard has been operating in Russia for over 25 years. It has nearly 200 colleagues and makes this company very important to many stakeholders. In taking these steps, we will continue to focus on their safety and well-being, including providing salaries and benefits, “Mastercard said in an unsigned statement. “If that is appropriate and permitted by law, we will use their passion and creativity to work to restore our business.”

Mastercard said it had heard from employees, consumers and shareholders before deciding on a course of action.

In a statement, Visa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Al Kelly said company executives “followed Russia’s provocative invasion of Ukraine and the unacceptable events we witnessed. I was forced to do it. “

“I regret the impact this has on our valued colleagues, and the clients, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia. This ongoing war and peace and stability. The threat requires us to respond in line with our values, “he added.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and has been dealing with backlash from countries and businesses ever since.

Mastercard said the card would soon stop working while Visa showed that the action could take several days, but once completed, all cards, including those issued abroad, would be It will not work in Russia.

Both Mastercard and Visa are based in the United States.

The move is a way for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin during a virtual meeting with hundreds of U.S. parliamentarians to process payments to Mastercard and Visas in Russia. It was done immediately after requesting to stop.

After the announcement, Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) Said that other major card companies should follow, and Belarus, which had helped Russia in the war, should be cut off.

Congressman Bill Keating (D-Mass.) Called the move “an important step in showing Vladimir Putin unwavering support for Ukraine.”

Some lawmakers admitted that many Russians were affected, even those who did not support the war, but argued that action was needed.

“Putin is our enemy, but the Russian people need to feel this for our response to be effective,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) after meeting Zelensky. Said in the video.

Putin did not appear to react immediately to movement. According to state media, the Central Bank of Russia said that Visa and Mastercard cards issued by Russian banks can continue to operate in Russia.

“All Visa and MasterCard cards for international payment systems issued by Russian banks will continue to function normally on Russian territory until they expire,” the bank said in a statement. “Domestic operations are processed by the National Payment Cards System and are not subject to sanctions. Client money deposited in accounts linked to such cards is completely secure and accessible.”

Zachary Stieber


Zachary Stieber covers US and world news. He is based in Maryland.