31/10/2014 14:16
RIA Novosti


Visa, MasterCard Freeze Cards at Sanctioned Russian Banks

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

Visa, Mastercard Freeze Customer Cards at Russian Bank
15:42 21/03/2014
Tags: EU, Mastercard Inc, Visa Inc, Vladimir Putin, Crimea, United States, Ukraine, Russia

MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti) – US-based Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. have stopped processing payments by cardholders at Russian banks targeted by the United States for financial sanctions on Thursday, a number of Russian banks said Friday.

The news signaled the first impact on ordinary Russian citizens by a series of Western sanctions against Russia over the ongoing situation in Ukraine, the greatest geopolitical showdown between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.

Earlier sanctions had been restricted to targeting high-level officials.

Several banks reported that customer cards were being declined for payment and that they had received no advance notification of the changes. Customer deposits remained unaffected.

Visa confirmed Friday that it had blocked cards issued by four Russian banks for use on its payment network for online or retail purchases.

Visa said the list of the banks facing sanctions announced by the US Treasury on Thursday includes Rossiya Bank, SMP Bank, Sobinbank and Investcapitalbank, the latter two being part of Rossiya Bank.

“The management of Rossiya Bank understands the difficulties experienced by clients in this situation, and assures them that everything possible is being done to help,” Rossiya Bank said in a statement on its website.

The bank added that customers could still withdraw cash from the bank’s ATMs without difficulties, as well as those owned by partner banks.

Sobinbank said that its call centers had been swamped by customers who were abroad and suddenly found their cards were not working.

SMP Bank is majority owned by brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, who were both named on the US sanctions list.

“All other operations, including the issuance of deposits and making payments remain unaffected and without any restrictions,” SMP Bank said in a statement, adding that it has no assets in the United States.

The US and EU announced asset freezes and travel bans targeting a number of Russian officials close to Putin on Monday, following a referendum in Crimea that saw voters overwhelmingly support reunification with Russia after 60 years as part of Ukraine.

Those lists were expanded – including the addition of Rossiya Bank to the US list – following the ratification of the reunification treaty by Russia’s lower house of parliament Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned earlier this month that sanctions against Russia threatened to cause mutual damage in the modern, integrated global economy.

Leaders in Crimea refused to recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kiev that came to power amid often violent protests last month, instead seeking reunification with Russia.


Updated with new headline, lede, Visa statement and edits throughout

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RIA NovostiVisa, Mastercard Freeze Customer Cards at Russian BankVisa, MasterCard Freeze Cards at Sanctioned Russian Banks

15:42 21/03/2014 US-based Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. have stopped processing payments by cardholders at Russian banks targeted by the United States for financial sanctions on Thursday, a number of Russian banks said Friday.>>

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  • mythoslightIf that is the case...
    11:17, 21/03/2014
    ... and their self inflicting foot-shooting hubris continues, it would be perfect time to drop the Dollar for gas payments and increasingly for other commodities as well. Their choice...
    • WestKazakYes, drop the dollar
      17:15, 21/03/2014
      What are they waiting for? The BRICS should stop using the dollar.
    • PantzerDiplomacyTime to stop crediting "blown egg" of western economies
      13:00, 21/03/2014
      and make BRIC payment systems
    • WestKazakYes, drop the dollar
      17:16, 21/03/2014
      What are they waiting for?
    • egykettoThis is unacceptable
      18:23, 22/03/2014
      The Obama administration loves to waltz around claiming "All I do, I do for human rights" - then turns around and makes ordinary Russian citizens suffer. Cold-blooded and petty.
      • R.Deus-von HomeyerRE:DROP THE DOLLAR! WHICH DOLLAR?
        22:04, 22/03/2014

        Yes,in MOST sale of mineral OIL,the Arab countries are using the US$,but when RUSSIA buys goods from GERMANY,she has to pay in €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€,my dearest FINANCIAL GURUS!

        When Australia sales iron and copper ores to CHINA,certainly CHINA is paying in Austarlian dollar. I invested €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ in Commonwealth bank and bought shares of RIO TINTO(a mining company in Australia);TELSTRA,BROKEN HILLS PROPERTIES. Do you think I bought the shares in US$?

        tHE rubble is still NOT a stable currency and the BRASILIAN RIAL is going down the drain.
      • Mikhail1228The EU and US are screwed!
        04:44, 23/03/2014
        • R.Deus-von HomeyerRE:ARE THE USA AND EU "SCREWED"?
          19:22, 24/03/2014

          USA is NOT importing ANY gas or oil from Russia...only Russian kapusta!

          From the EU ONLY GERMANY and FRANCE are importing gas and some of the oil from Russia...NOT ALL European countries.

          Therefore as an ABSOLUT RULER over Russia and the new subject KRUIM,he can sell WHATEVER HE WANTS TO SELL TO CHINA!

          The question mark is :Does China wants to get Russian oil&gas?

          The BERENG SEA is frozen during seven months in the year and the oilpipes MUST be build through all Mongolia.
        • Mikhail1228More good news for the EU!
          20:07, 25/03/2014

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