Visa and MasterCard join PayPal in suspending operations in Russia

The payment processors announced the action on Saturday, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal stated Saturday that they are halting business in Russia, citing the country’s escalating invasion of Ukraine.

Visa has begun the process of ceasing transactions in Russia, although it will take several days, according to a press release. Mastercard said that it will cease all network services in Russia, which invaded Ukraine in late February.

“Once the transition is complete, all transactions initiated with Visa cards issued in Russia will be inoperable outside the country, and Visa cards issued by financial institutions outside of Russia will be inoperable within the Russian Federation,” Visa stated in a statement attributed to global communications vice president Andy Gerlt.

Visa Inc. Chairman and CEO Al Kelly said in a news statement that the business “felt obligated to act in response to Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine and the intolerable events that have occurred.” We regret the effect this will have on our valued workers, as well as on the clients, partners, retailers, and cardholders in Russia that we serve. This battle, as well as the persistent danger to peace and stability, require us to act in accordance with our beliefs.”

Similarly, Mastercard said that in addition to barring some Russian financial institutions, it would discontinue support for all cards issued by Russian banks and will halt transactions made using cards issued outside Russia but used “at Russian businesses or ATMs.”

On Saturday, Ukrainian Vice Premier Mykhailo Fedorov published a letter from PayPal CEO Dan Schulman announcing a similar closure.

PayPal spokespersons did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Reuters reported that the suspension would “ensure that account funds are distributed in accordance with relevant rules.”

Companies have been under public pressure to halt operations in Russia in response to the country’s invasion. Despite entreaties from Ukrainian authorities and politicians worldwide, cryptocurrency businesses have mostly rejected efforts to arbitrarily exclude all Russian citizens.

Jesse Powell, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, said that the business would comply with such a request if legally required (his exchange was not one Ukraine formally asked). Ukraine has requested that all Russian accounts be blocked at Coinbase, Binance, Huobi, KuCoin, Bybit,, Whitebit, and Ukraine-based Kuna.

Russia’s central bank stated in a statement that Visa and Mastercard cards will remain valid inside the country after the credit card processors’ bans.

“As they are handled inside the nation via the National Payment Card System, they are unaffected by sanctions,” the central bank said. “Funds on customer accounts associated with such cards are completely intact and accessible.”

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