Sunday, March 6, 2022

Visa has picked the wrong way to "support" Ukraine

Visa (and Mastercard) are suspending operations in Russia. Specifically, as regards Visa, cards issued inside Russia will not work outside of Russia, and cards issued outside Russia will not work inside Russia. Who does this hurt? Not the Russian government, which is responsible for the invasion into Ukraine. It hurts Russian citizens traveling outside Russia and non-Russian citizens traveling inside Russia (generalizing here to citizens having his Visa cards issued from their country of citizenship). Say you're doing business, vacation, mission work, or other general travel, and suddenly you are unable to pay for your hotel, buy food, or pay for travel, you're stuck in a foreign land with your payment means unavailable (assuming you didn't convert a bunch of cash to local currency upon arrival). Not sure that move by Visa (and Mastercard) is in the best interest of their customers, or that it will have much impact on pressuring the Russian government to end its invasion. (Not saying we shouldn't be doing things, just that we shouldn't be doing the wrong things and instead we should be doing the right things. Maybe Visa and Mastercard could, instead of stranding their customers, donate the profits from the fees on the use of their cards, Russian outside Russia and non-Russian inside Russia, to defense or humanitarian relief in Ukraine.)

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