Mastercard and Visa said they would suspend operations in Russia, essentially severing cardholders there from transactions outside the country in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
The suspensions announced on Saturday evening will prevent Mastercards and Visa cards issued by Russian banks from working in other countries and block people with cards issued elsewhere from purchasing goods and services from companies in Russia.
But other transactions may still go through. Cards branded with the Mastercard or Visa logo that were issued by Russian banks may still work inside the country, because the transactions are handled by a local processor, officials at both companies said.
In a statement, Mastercard — which has operated in Russia for more than 25 years — said it had not made the decision lightly. “As we take this step, we join with so many others in hoping for and committing to a more positive, productive and peaceful future for us all,” the company said.
Visa said it planned to “cease” all Visa transactions within Russia “in the coming days.” A spokesman for the company said those transactions should be cut off within a week.
Al Kelly, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa Inc., said in a statement: “This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”