Mastercard, PayPal and Visa suspend service in Russia amid the Ukraine conflict

Photo of Russian flag with PayPal Mastercard and Visa logo

Mastercard, PayPal and Visa have announced they will be suspending their operations in Russia amid their war with Ukraine. This comes just days after Microsoft announced that it will be suspending sale of products in Russia.

In a statement, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said that the company "supports the Ukrainian people and stands with the international community in condemning Russia's violent military aggression in Ukraine.". In 2020, PayPal suspended domestic services in Russia but allowed cross border transactions. Now, the company will not allow users to create new PayPal accounts in Russia. Moreover, it is also suspending the international money transfer service Xoom in the country.

PayPal has been working closely with governments and partners to actively comply with all applicable laws and sanctions.

A company spokesperson confirmed to CNet that PayPal will temporarily process withdrawals to allow customers to move existing balances from the platform.

PayPal is not the only company that is suspending services in Russia. Both Mastercard and Visa have announced that they will no longer offer services in the country. In a press release, Visa confirmed that it is working with "its clients and partners within Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days".

Al Kelly, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa said:

We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed. We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues, and on the clients, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia. This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.

Mastercard also published a press release confirming that the company is suspending operations in Russia. The company said:

It’s with all of this in mind – and noting the unprecedented nature of the current conflict and the uncertain economic environment – we have decided to suspend our network services in Russia.   

This decision flows from our recent action to block multiple financial institutions from the Mastercard payment network, as required by regulators globally.   

With this action, cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by the Mastercard network. And, any Mastercard issued outside of the country will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs. 

Last week, both Visa and Mastercard barred several Russian banks from the network in response to the sanctions put in place by several countries. Furthermore, US and its allies have kicked off several Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging network that is used worldwide to send and receive money.

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