On March 5 (local time), Visa and Mastercard issued separate statements announcing they had halted operations in Russia. Both the companies have stated Russia’s military action as the reason for their action. Notably, hours before the announcement was made by the two companies, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had urged the US companies to halt their businesses in Russia during a Zoom video meeting with US Senators. After the announcement, Zelensky talked to President Biden and appreciated the steps taken by Visa and Mastercard.
In its statement, Visa said it has started working with its clients and partners within Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days. Once the process completes, the Visa cards issued in Russia will not work outside the country, and Visa cards issued from outside Russia will not work in the Russian Federation.
Al Kelly, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa Inc, said, “We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed. We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues and on the clients, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia. This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”
The company said it has decided to suspend its network services in Russia. The statement read, “With this action, cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by the Mastercard network. And, any Mastercard issued outside of the country will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs.”
Speaking about the possibility of restoration of the services in the region, the company said, “When it is appropriate, and if it is permissible under the law, we will use their passion and creativity to work to restore operations.”
President Zelensky appreciated steps by Visa and Mastercard during call with President Biden
As per the read-out issued by the White House, US President Biden talked to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on Saturday evening. During the call, Zelenskyy welcomed the decision taken by Visa and Mastercard to halt operations in Russia.
PayPal had halted operations
Earlier, PayPal, one of the leading digital payment companies, halted its operations in Russia on Saturday. On Wednesday, the company had stopped accepting new customers in Russia. Dan Schulman, President and Chief Executive, PayPal, said in a statement, “Under the current circumstances, we are suspending PayPal services in Russia. The company stands with the international community in condemning Russia’s violent military aggression in Ukraine.”
On February 24, Russia had announced military action against Ukraine. Since then, several western companies have halted their operations in Russia. In addition, SWIFT, the system that helps banks worldwide to smoothly run financial transactions, had excluded Russia from the system. US and other countries imposed several sanctions on Russia over the military action.