Visa and Mastercard suspend their services in Russia

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credit card companies Visa and MasterCard announced this Saturday the suspension of their operations in Russiathe latest major US firms to freeze business with Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Mastercard said it decided to "suspend our network services in Russia," "taking into account the unprecedented nature of the current conflict and the uncertain economic environment."

For its part, Visa indicated that it will work "immediately" with its "customers and partners inside Russia to stop all Visa transactions in the coming days."

"We have an obligation to act following Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the unacceptable events we have witnessed," Visa CEO Al Kelly was quoted as saying in a statement.

"Our colleagues, our customers and our partners have been affected in ways most of us cannot imagine," Mastercard said on its side.

Russian Visa and Mastercard bank cards will no longer work abroad, while those issued abroad will no longer work in Russia, the US groups said.

In recent days, Visa and Mastercard, as well as their competitor American Express, had taken measures to prevent Russian banks from using their networks, in application of international sanctions decided after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russia's biggest banks, including Sberbank, the country's biggest lender, and Russia's Central Bank, played down the effects the card suspensions would have on their customers.

"All Visa and Mastercard bank cards issued by Russian banks will continue to function normally on Russian territory until their expiration date," the Russian Central Bank said.

While Sberbank reported that the cards "can be used for operations on Russian territory, for cash withdrawals, making transfers using the card number and for payments in Russian stores, both online and offline."


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