Both Visa and Mastercard have announced the suspension of all operations in Russia in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Visa said that it will “cease all Visa transactions over the coming days” while Mastercard is similarly suspending its network services in Russia. The country makes up about 4% of each companies’ revenue.
Both Visa and Mastercard say that with the suspension, cards issued overseas will no longer work at Russian merchants or ATMs, while Russian-issued cards will also not be accepted outside the country. However, Visa told Bloomberg that cards issued within the country can still make transactions inside Russia itself, but they will instead be processed by Russia’s National Payment Card System (NSPK).
In response, the Russian central bank said that Visa and Mastercard products issued by Russian banks will continue to work until they expire. The move comes days after both companies blocked certain financial institutions in the country from their network to put further pressure on the financial system.
Sanctions have hit Russia hard, with the country’s banking system now cut off from SWIFT and its oil sector having a hard time finding buyers. Even Malaysia seems to be avoiding being associated with Russia, as the transport ministry recently prevented a sanctioned Russian oil tanker from docking at local ports.