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Current Affairs

Blocking Visa, Mastercard and American Express in Russia

Date: 09 March 2022 Tags: miscellaneous


Card network operators of USA, Visa, Mastercard and American Express have suspended their services in Russia.



Western nations have imposed sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Many western companies have already suspended their operations.



  • The suspension means that cards issued by banks on these operators will not be operational at PoS and ATMs in Russia.

  • However, the cards on these networks issued by Russian banks will be operational within the country but will not work outside.



  • Russia has already developed a payments system called Mir, which came into existence in 2015 aftermath of the sanctions in 2014.

  • Apart from this, China’s UnionPay will be roped in by many banks to offer services to their clients in more than 180 countries.


Impact of the ban

Russia says that cards issued by banks on these networks will work in the country until their expiry but will not work outside the country.


Opportunity for India

  • India has been making efforts to popularize domestic payments system RuPay, owned by NPCI, by promoting it outside the country.

  • Domestically, RuPay cards have a share of 60% and the government along with RBI is promoting its adoption outside Indian jurisdiction.

  • To increase its presence, RuPay has already tied up with other operators such as Union Pay (China), JCB (Japan), NETS (Singapore), BC Card (South Korea), Elo (Brazil) and DinaCard (Serbia).



  • NPCI is a not-for-profit organisation registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013, established by the Reserve Bank of India and Indian Banks' Association. 

  • The earliest promoter banks were State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Citibank and HSBC.