In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express have stated that all operations in Russia will be suspended.
The impact on customers, though, has already been minimised by Russia’s big banks.
Until the cards’ expiration dates, shoppers will be able to use them to make purchases in Russia.
However, foreign-issued Visa, Mastercard, or American Express cards will no longer operate in Russian stores or ATMs.
Clients will no longer be able to use their Russian cards outside of Russia, nor will they be able to make foreign payments online.
Outside of China, Visa and Mastercard alone handle almost 90% of all credit and debit payments.
Previously, Russia’s central bank stated that all Visa and Mastercard bank cards issued by Russian banks will continue to function normally on Russian soil. This is due to the fact that domestic payments in Russia are made using a native system that is not reliant on international systems.
Sberbank, Russia’s largest state-owned bank, said its cards will continue to operate “to withdraw cash, make transfers using the card number, and for payment at both offline and online Russian businesses.”
The Russian government has mandated that all domestic financial transactions be handled there since 2015. Following the takeover of Crimea, Visa and Mastercard suspended operations there as well.
To minimize any negative impact on consumers, some Russian banks have stated that they may begin issuing cards that use the Chinese UnionPay system in conjunction with Russia’s Mir payment network.
Farida Rustamova, a freelance journalist who fled Russia as a result of the invasion, slammed Visa and Mastercard’s move, saying it would deprive individuals like her of desperately needed finances.
She told reporters that she had rushed to withdraw cash after hearing the news since she hadn’t yet set up a foreign bank account, and that she, like many others, was facing the same difficulty.
“Thousands of individuals, including journalists, opposition activists, and even ordinary people who are afraid of Putin’s administration and fleeing violence, will now lose their meager income.”
“And the irony is that this is precisely what Putin wants.”
Since the commencement of the crisis, Visa and Mastercard have both stated that they will abide by the restrictions imposed by Western countries.
“We must respond in accordance with our beliefs in response to this war and the ongoing danger to peace and security,” said Visa CEO Al Kelly.
Mastercard also called the continued invasion of Ukraine “shocking and terrible” in a statement.
For more than 25 years, the card firm has been operating in Russia. It affirmed that the salary of its 200 employees in the country will be paid.
“We regret the effect on our valued staff, as well as the customers, partners, retailers, and cardholders we serve in Russia,” Visa stated.
It refused to say how many Visa cards are in use in Russia.
Russian’s war on Ukraine was dubbed “unjustified” by American Express, which also announced that it was ceasing all commercial activities in Belarus.
According to a White House statement, US President Joe Biden “welcomed the decision” during a phone chat with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.