Multiple Russian banks on Sunday announced plans to begin issuing cards using a Chinese card operator’s system with Russia’s Mir network after Visa and MasterCard pulled out of Russia.
Sberbank, Alfa Bank and Tinkoff all said they would begin using the Chinese UnionPay system, according to Reuters.
The announcement comes one day after Mastercard announced cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by its network, while any Mastercard issued outside the country will not work at Russian stores or ATMs. Visa similarly announced it is working to suspend all transactions in the coming days, over a week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine first began.
Mastercard said it does not “take this decision lightly,” in a statement.
Visa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Al Kelly said in a statement: “We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed.”
The announcements, which were released within minutes of each other, came after U.S. lawmakers held a private video call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who asked the lawmakers to turn off Mastercard and Visa for Russia, according to Representative Brad Sherman (D., Calif.).
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Russia accounted for 4 percent of all of Visa’s net revenue in its last fiscal year, while business conducted within, into and out of Russia similarly accounted for 4 percent of Mastercard’s net revenues in 2021, according to the Associated Press.