Visa and Mastercard block Russian financial institutions

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

On Monday, Visa said that it was taking prompt action to ensure compliance with applicable sanctions, adding that it would donate £1.4 million for humanitarian aid.

‘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, adding that it would also contribute $2 million.

In 2021, about 4% of Mastercard’s net revenues were derived from business conducted within, into and out of Russia. Meanwhile, business conducted within, into and out of Ukraine accounted for 2% of its net revenues, according to a filing on Tuesday.

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The American 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.

2 steps that will end Putin’s regime by Russians. Firstly, complete exit from the country of @Visa and @MasterCard (not just sanctioned banks). Secondly, complete blocking of the @Apple Store and @Google Play with all apps. This could strike irrevocably!

On Monday, a senior Biden administration official told CNBC the measure would take effect immediately following intelligence that the central bank was trying to move its assets out of foreign countries.

America added various Russian financial firms to the list, including the country’s central bank and second-largest lender VTB.

On Saturday, 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 ATMs and waited in long queues on Sunday and Monday amid concerns that bank cards may cease to function, or that banks would limit cash withdrawals.

International people in Russia report not being able to withdraw money using their cards.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, called on Visa and Mastercard to completely exit from Russia and not just sanctioned banks.

Russians can no longer use their bank cards with Google Pay and Apple Pay as newly-imposed financial sanctions took effect on Monday.

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