By John Meyer, financial consultant – Eurasia Business News, March 6, 2022

The Russian subsidiary of the Visa payment system stops servicing cards in Russia from 00:01 on March 10, announced the company today, amid Western sanctions against Russian banks after the Kremlin launched a military operation against Ukraine on February 24.

From March 10, Visa cards issued in Russia will not work abroad and will not be accepted for payment in foreign online stores. The situation is similar with Mastercard cards. That means that Russian consumers will not be able to buy online foreign goods and services.

We don’t take this decision lightly,” Mastercard said in a statement, adding that it made the move after discussions with customers, partners and governments.

Earlier it was reported that the international payment systems Visa and Mastercard simultaneously announced the termination of work in the Russian market.

The cards of these payment systems of all Russian banks will continue to work within the country as usual, since operations on them have been processed by the National Payment Card System since 2015, the report says.

Visa and Mastercard cardholders will have access to all the funds on their accounts until their expiration date, as well as all the usual payment transactions – paying for purchases, transferring funds from card to card, withdrawing cash and others. Payments abroad, including on foreign Internet resources, will not be available with Visa and Mastercard international payment systems cards issued by Russian banks.

All Visa and Mastercard cards issued by Russian banks will continue to work in the country as usual until their expiration date.

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Large Russian banks, after statements by Visa and MasterCard, announced that they are considering the possibility of issuing a the Russian card Mir with the Chinese UnionPay, the largest credit card network in the world. UnionPay is also the most used payment method by Chinese tourists when traveling abroad. That means that Western governments will not be able to ban UnionPay, as Chinese tourists spend billions of dollars each year in the Western economies.

From April 2015, payments within Russia on all plastic cards, including Visa and MasterCard, have been going through the National Payment Card System, the operator of the Mir payment system.

Russians would be able to apply for a co-badged Mir-UnionPay card to pay for purchases and withdraw cash abroad. Such a card would be accepted in Russia and in 180 countries that support work with UnionPay, including Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Cyprus, Thailand, India, Israel, Portugal, Croatia, Poland, Serbia, Hungary, Austria.

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