Visa and Mastercard have announced tonight they will be suspending operations in Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
Visa said in a statement that it would cut off transactions “over the coming days” and consequently cards issued in Russia would not work abroad as well as foreign issued cards in Russia.
Alfred Kelly, chairman and chief executive officer of the US-based digital payments company, said: “We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and 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.
“This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”
Mastercard issued a similar ban, stating that cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by its network.
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The US-based company added that any Mastercard issued outside the country would not work at Russian merchants or ATMs.
Mastercard said: “For more than a week, the world has watched the shocking and devastating events resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Our colleagues, our customers and our partners have been affected in ways that most of us could not imagine.
“We don’t take this decision lightly. 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 wellbeing, including continuing to provide pay and benefits.”
The Ukrainian government had previously called on the financial companies to suspend operations in Russia. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had urged the companies to take this action when he talked by video to American members of Congress earlier today.