News and Analysis

Visa, Mastercard Suspend All Operations In Russia Effective Immediately
NOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA FEBRUARY 8, 2021: A customer uses an ATM machine in a branch of Sberbank amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kirill KukhmarTASS via Getty Images

Financial services companies Visa and Mastercard announced on Saturday that they have suspended all operations in Russia following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

“Effective immediately, Visa will work with its clients and partners within Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days,” Visa said in a statement. “Once complete, all transactions initiated with Visa cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country and any Visa cards issued by financial institutions outside of Russia will no longer work within the Russian Federation.”

Al Kelly, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa Inc., said in a statement that the company was “compelled to act” due to the “unacceptable events that we have witnessed.”

“We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues, and on the clients, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia,” Kelly continued. “This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”

Mastercard said in a statement that it was suspending its operations after “the world has watched the shocking and devastating events resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

It’s with all of this in mind – and noting the unprecedented nature of the current conflict and the uncertain economic environment – we have decided to suspend our network services in Russia,” Mastercard said in a statement. “This decision flows from our recent action to block multiple financial institutions from the Mastercard payment network, as required by regulators globally. With this action, cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by the Mastercard network. And, any Mastercard issued outside of the country will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs.”

Mastercard said that they did not make the decision lightly, and that in the meantime, they would focus on being vigilant “to ensure the safety and security of the global payments ecosystem and our network.”

“Our Cyber & Intelligence teams will continue to work with governments and partners around the world to ensure that stability, integrity and resiliency of our systems continue to guide our operations and response to potential cyber-attacks,” the statement added.

Reuters reported:

Visa also said this week it blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from its network in compliance with government sanctions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tass news reported that Sberbank Rossii PAO, Russia’s largest lender, said sanctions announced by Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc would not affect users of the cards it issues in Russia.


This report has been updated to include additional information.

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