cashless payments

Visa, Mastercard block Russian financial institutions after sanctions

Reuters
Visa, Mastercard block Russian financial institutions after sanctions

MASTERCARD. A smartphone with the Mastercard logo is placed near a toy shopping cart in this illustration taken July 15, 2021.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Visa and Mastercard also pledge to donate $2 million each for humanitarian aid

US payment card firms Visa and Mastercard have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their network, complying with government sanctions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Visa said on Monday, February 28, it was taking prompt action to ensure compliance with applicable sanctions, adding that it will donate $2 million for humanitarian aid. Mastercard also promised to contribute $2 million.

“We will continue to work with regulators in the days ahead to abide fully by our compliance obligations as they evolve,” Mastercard said in a separate statement late on Monday.

The government sanctions require Visa to suspend access to its network for entities listed as Specially Designated Nationals, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. The United States has added various Russian financial firms to the list, including the country’s central bank and second largest lender VTB.

On Saturday, February 26, the US, Britain, Europe, and Canada announced new sanctions on Russia – including blocking certain lenders’ access to the SWIFT international payment system.

Russians rushed to automated teller machines and waited in long queues on Sunday, February 27, and Monday amid concerns that bank cards may cease to function, or that banks would limit cash withdrawals.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

Many Western banks, airlines, and more have cut ties with Russia, calling the country’s actions unacceptable. European nations and Canada have shut their airspace to Russian aircraft. – Rappler.com