Visa and MasterCard block Russian financial institutions after sanctions

The MasterCard logo appears on a credit card in this illustration on August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White

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March 1 (Reuters) – US payment card companies Visa Inc (VN) And Mastercard Inc has blocked several Russian financial institutions from its network, in compliance with government sanctions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, Visa said it was taking immediate action to ensure compliance with applicable sanctions, adding that it would donate $2 million to humanitarian aid. Mastercard has also promised to contribute $2 million.

“We will continue to work with regulators in the coming days to fully comply with compliance obligations as they develop,” Mastercard said in a separate statement late Monday.

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A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that government sanctions require Visa to suspend access to its network of entities listed as Specially Designated Citizens. The United States has added several Russian financial companies to the list, including the country’s central bank and the second largest, VTB (VTBR.MM).

The United States, Britain, Europe and Canada on Saturday announced new sanctions against Russia – including blocking some lenders’ access to the international payment system SWIFT. Read more

Russians rushed to automated teller machines and waited in long lines on Sunday and Monday amid concerns that bank cards might stop working, or that banks would limit cash withdrawals. Read more

Russia describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation.”

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Several Western banks, airlines and others have cut ties with Russia, calling the country’s actions unacceptable. European countries and Canada closed their airspace to Russian aircraft. Read more

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(Maria Bonizath reports in Bengaluru); Editing by Kristen Schmolinger, Kenneth Maxwell, Kirsten Donovan

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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