Visa and Mastercard move to cut Russian operations
The financial credit-card giants are removing all Russia-issued bank cards from overseas transactions in an attempt to pressure Russia.
International card giants Mastercard and Visa have stated that they would cease operations and withdraw all Russian banks from their payment networks following the sanctions imposed on Russia.
On the other hand, Russia-issued cards will continue to operate within the nation because all local payments are handled through the internal National Payment Card System (NSPK), established in 2014.
According to Visa Inc., it would "immediately" begin to "work with its clients and partners within Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days.”
"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 CEO of Visa, expressed regret for the impact "on our valued colleagues, and on the clients, partners, merchants, and cardholders we serve in Russia."
Mastercard followed suit with its “recent action to block multiple financial institutions from the Mastercard payment network, as required by regulators globally.”
While all Visa and MasterCard-branded cards issued by Russian banks will no longer operate outside, all internal transactions are likely to continue as usual because they have been handled through the NSPK since the first rounds of Ukraine-related Western sanctions in 2014.
Russia also has its own national payment system, Mir, which was established by the Central Bank in 2015, a year after the country was sanctioned.
The wave of sanctions the West has been imposing on Russia as a consequence of its military operation in Ukraine is comparable with a declaration of war, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday.
This is not the first US company that suspended sales to Russia over its operation in Ukraine, for Microsoft announced Friday that it had halted new sales of its products and services in Russia, following in the footsteps of numerous other companies and Western governments.
Google paused its ads in Russia, Google Europe has blocked Youtube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, and Airbnb announced they were pausing their business in Russia and Belarus.