Visa and Mastercard service discontinued in Russia
Visa and Mastercard service discontinued in Russia

Visa and Mastercard have halted operations in Russia, according to the Associated Press, a major new move that has rocked the country's financial system.

In an announcement on Visa's website, the company said it is working with a partner in Russia to halt all transactions in the coming days.

Another press release from Mastercard contained similar information, indicating that the service was discontinued in Russia and the decision was not taken seriously.

The companies explained that transactions using Visa or MasterCard cards issued by Russian banks cannot be carried out outside Russia. Also, not all cards issued by foreign banks can be used at Russian merchants or ATMs.

“We regret the impact on our colleagues, customers, partners, merchants, and cardholders we serve in Russia,” said Al Kelly, CEO of Visa. “This war and ongoing threat to peace and stability forces us to live up to our values.

Anyone with a card issued by Russia can still use Mastercard and Visa to pay for products and services.

But no financial company will handle these transactions. The Russian National Payment Card System NSPK has to deal with this matter.

The Visa and MasterCard announcements came shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met US lawmakers. Zelensky asked them to stop the two companies' operations in Russia.

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The two companies excluded a select group of Russian banks from their networks earlier this week. This came in response to US financial sanctions against the country.

Mastercard said: “This decision follows our recent actions to block several financial institutions from our payments network. This decision is in line with the requirements of global regulators.

The United States and the European Union banned some Russian banks from SWIFT, the world's main financial system, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month.

The sanctions also blocked Apple Pay and Google Pay for some Russian consumers. PayPal has ceased to operate in the country.

Many other large companies have stopped doing business with Russia, including Samsung, Microsoft, Apple and Google.

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