Visa, Mastercard block services in Russia

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Saturday, the two most prominent credit card processors in the United States joined a growing collection of international corporations in preventing Russians from utilizing what, in a mostly cashless society, has become an essential service.

Visa and Mastercard announced through a pair of statements that they were blocking access to their products in Russia following that nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

Not only will the companies’ cards no longer function, but cardholders from Russia will also no longer be able to process purchases internationally.

“For more than a week, the world has watched the shocking and devastating events resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the Mastercard Statement reads. “Our colleagues, our customers and our partners have been affected in ways that most of us could not imagine.” The statement later continued, “Our Cyber & Intelligence teams will continue to work with governments and partners around the world to ensure that stability, integrity and resiliency of our systems continue to guide our operations and response to potential cyber-attacks.”

Al Kelly, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa Inc., expressed a similar sentiment.

“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” Kelly said. “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.”

According to its statement, Mastercard has operated for 25 years and had 200 employees in Russia.

“As we take these steps, we will continue to focus on [our employees’] safety and well-being, including continuing to provide pay and benefits,” Mastercard wrote. “When it is appropriate, and if it is permissible under the law, we will use their passion and creativity to work to restore operations.”

Visa and Mastercard were the latest companies to institute policies that make paying for services more difficult, if not impossible, for Russians.

Last week, Apple blocked the use of Apple Pay and Google blocked Google Pay for customers who have accounts in Russian banks that have been sanctioned.  

CBS News has produced a list of companies currently refusing to do business with Russia or Russian interests, and the number and prominence of those entities is staggering.

The likes of Google, Ford, Disney, ExxonMobil, Nike, Airbus, Boeing, and Volkswagen have also made moves to isolate Russia, making it almost impossible for everyday Russians to pay for their basic needs and slowly crippling the Russian economy.

These moves have all come at the behest of Western nations, all of whom hope the financial strain will be too much for the Russian economy and Russian people to bear, and that these factors will either bankrupt the Russian war effort or force Russian President Vladimir Putin to relent.