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Visa, Mastercard suspend business; Russian banks turn to China

Fortune | Bloomberg | March 6, 2022

SberbankVisa mastercard suspend russian operations - Visa, Mastercard suspend business; Russian banks turn to China PJSC said it’s looking at the possibility of issuing cards using Russian payments system Mir and China’s UnionPay after Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. suspended operations following the invasion of Ukraine.

The move could allow Russians to make some payments overseas, with UnionPay operating in 180 countries and regions. Visa and Mastercard said that any transactions initiated with their cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country from March 10.

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Cards issued by domestic banks will continue to work in Russia using its payment system. Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank, said it would announce timescales later.

Visa and Mastercard have joined the list of international companies suspending activities in Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The move further isolates Russia’s economy. Cards issued outside of Russia won’t work at ATMs or merchants inside the country, the firms said.

The Bank of Russia is also temporarily reducing the amount of information commercial banks are required to publish in an effort to limit the risks from international sanctions. Starting with statements for February, banks will no longer have to release accounts prepared to national standards or make any additional disclosures on their websites, the central bank said in a statement.

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