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Visa, Mastercard and American Express Block Russia from Payment Networks

Visa, Mastercard and American Express Block Russia from Payment Networks

(7 March 2022 - Europe) American Express, Mastercard, and Visa have escalated their response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and are suspending all operations in the country.

The actions by the card schemes comes just days after Western allies agreed measures to exclude Russian banks from the Swift messaging network amid a slew of new financial sanctions.

Mastercard said cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by its network and any Mastercard issued outside the country will not work at Russian stores or ATMs.

"We don't take this decision lightly," Mastercard said in a statement, adding that it made the move after discussions with customers, partners and governments.

Visa said it's working with clients and partners in Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days.

American Express said their cards will no longer work at merchants or ATMs in Russia. Additionally, American Express said they will be terminating all business operations in Belarus.

"One of our company values is to 'Do What is Right,'" American Express said in a statement. "This principle has guided us throughout this difficult crisis and will continue to do so, as we stand by our colleagues, customers, and the international community in hoping for a peaceful resolution to this crisis."

Earlier last week, Visa and Mastercard had announced more limited moves to block financial institutions from the networks that serve as arteries for the payments system. 

About four percent of Mastercard's net revenues in 2021 was derived from business conducted within, into and out of Russia and roughly two percent of its net revenues was related to Ukraine, totalling $1.1 billion in annual takings.

Miebach says Mastercard is also stepping up its cybersecurity monitoring, "the threat of which is heightened significantly in the present environment".

In the world of fintech, money transfer network Wise has placed a daily £200 transaction limit on transfers to Russia, while Paysera has stopped processing any transactions to Russian accounts.

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