Visa, Mastercard suspend operations in Russia

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Visa and Mastercard are suspending operations in Russia in another major blow to the country’s financial system. Cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by their networks, the payments giants said on Saturday. Both firms have also said that cards issued abroad will no longer work at businesses or ATMs in Russia.

Anyone with a card issued in Russia will still be able to pay for products and services with Mastercard and Visa cards, however, neither financial company will process the transactions — Russia’s National Payment Card System (NSPK) will have to handle them instead.

Both Visa and Mastercard had already announced that they would comply with sanctions introduced by Western countries since the start of the conflict. “Our colleagues, our customers and our partners have been affected in ways that most of us could not imagine,” Mastercard said. The card company has operated in Russia for more than 25 years. It confirmed that it would continue to pay the wages of its 200 staff members there.

Visa added: “We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues, and on the clients, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia.”It would not disclose how many Visa cards are in operation in Russia.