In a statement, Visa boss Al Kelly regretted the impact that the measure would have on employees, customers, partners, merchants and cardholders in Russia. But “this war and the ongoing threats to peace and stability require that we respond in accordance with our values,” he said.
Visa will work with customers and partners in Russia “to halt all Visa transactions in the coming days,” the company said on Saturday. After that, cards issued in Russia would no longer work abroad. Credit cards issued by financial institutions outside the country could no longer be used in Russia.
Mastercard announced identical steps – and underlined that the decision was not made lightly. Because “Mastercard has been operating in Russia for more than 25 years”. The almost 200 employees will continue to be paid their wages. If it is “reasonable and legally permissible”, they want to resume operations.
Visa and Mastercard had previously stopped processing transactions for Russian banks affected by international sanctions over the Ukraine war. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that in 2020, of the debit and credit cards issued in Russia, Visa and Mastercard cards accounted for about 74 percent of payments in the country.