07.03.2022 Finance International

War in Ukraine: Visa and Mastercard suspend operations in and from Russia

American Visa and Mastercard, leaders in the bank card market, announced on March 5th that they were suspending their operations in Russia.

“Noting the unprecedented nature of the current conflict and the uncertain economic environment – we have decided to suspend our network services in Russia”, Mastercard said in a statement.

“Visa will work with its clients and partners within Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days”, Visa said in a separate statement.

Russian Visa and Mastercard bank cards will no longer be valid abroad, and cards issued abroad will no longer work in Russia, the two companies said. “Cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by the Mastercard network regardless of where they’re used – inside or outside of Russia. And, any Mastercard issued outside of the country will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs”, explained Mastercard. “Once complete, all transactions initiated with Visa cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country and any Visa cards issued by financial institutions outside of Russia will no longer work within the Russian Federation”, said Visa.

Russian banks want to use Chinese UnionPay network

So that Russians can have payment cards abroad, Russian banks announced, the day after the Mastercard and Visa announcements, that they were working on issuing cards from the Chinese UnionPay network, as the Russian Mir system is only operational in a handful of countries around the world.