Visa and Mastercard, two of the world’s largest payment service providers, have announced that they have ceased all operations in Russia effective immediately, with transactions to cease over the coming days — joining PayPal in the corporate-driven move to sanction the country.
Once the cessation of services is complete, all cards issued within Russia will no longer work outside the country, and any cards issued outside Russia will no longer work within the Russian Federation, it said.
“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” said Al Kelly, CEO of Visa Inc. “We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues, and on the clients, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia. This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”
“This decision flows from our recent action to block multiple financial institutions from the Mastercard payment network, as required by regulators globally,” stated Mastercard in a press release. “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.”
“We don’t take this decision lightly,” the release continued. “Mastercard has operated in Russia for more than 25 years. We have nearly 200 colleagues there who make this company so critical to many stakeholders. As we take these steps, we will continue to focus on their safety and well-being, including continuing to provide pay and benefits. When it is appropriate, and if it is permissible under the law, we will use their passion and creativity to work to restore operations.”
The companies’ move to terminate services in the Russian Federation comes amid a global push, driven by major companies from different sectors around the world, to restrict the Russian economy amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The move comes as PayPal on Saturday announced its suspension of services in Russia, citing the war with Ukraine, CNBC reported.
“Under the current circumstances, we are suspending PayPal services in Russia,” said Dan Schulman, PayPal’s CEO, in a letter addressed to the Ukrainian government. The move came after Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov issued letters to corporations, payment processors, video game companies and others to ban Russians from using their services and products.
“So now it’s official: PayPal shuts down its services in Russia citing Ukraine aggression,” Fedorov tweeted Saturday. “Thank you @PayPal for your supporting!”
Over the past week, many sectors in Russia saw suspensions, ranging from technology and entertainment, to automotive and energy. The move comes from the private sector, separate from the sanctions imposed by European Union members states, Canada, Australia, and the United States.
As previously detailed by Rebel News, the western sanctions are heavily impacting the daily lives of average Russians.
Big Tech giants Apple and Google have opted to block their services to Russians following the Biden administration’s efforts to put the squeeze on the Russian economy. The move to suspend certain services used by Russian citizens is now causing chaos in the Moscow metro system.
Social media platform YouTube also decided to block Russian state-run media outlets, Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, while Google blocked their mobile applications from being downloaded through its app store.