Visa and MasterCard exile Russia from networks

Visa and MasterCard, which together handle 90% of all debit and credit card payments outside of China, have blocked a number of Russian financial institutions from their networks, dealing another heavy blow to the country’s economy. 

Both companies confirmed that they had moved quickly to comply with US sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine last week.

“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 statement on Monday night.

The US has compiled a list of sanctioned entities, including Russia’s central bank and its second-largest lender, that Visa is required to suspend from its network, according to Reuters.

Since 2015, Russia has been building an alternative payment network that does not rely on Visa or MasterCard.


Mir, as it is called, only has a market share of around 30% in Russia however, according to the country’s central bank.

Over the weekend, the international community moved to block Russia from the SWIFT global financial system.

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In a joint statement, leaders of Europe, UK, US, and Canada, said the move was in response to Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine late last week.

The group said: “We stand with the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people in their heroic efforts to resist Russia’s invasion.

“Russia’s war represents an assault on fundamental international rules and norms that have prevailed since the Second World War, which we are committed to defending.”

SWIFT – the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication – moves many billions of dollars around more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions around the world every day.