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March 8, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 9:56am

Discover scraps Russian office plans over Ukraine invasion

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict


US-based payments company Discover has ceased its efforts to set up a regional branch in Russia over the country’s invasion on Ukraine.

The firm said that it was in the process of establishing a Russian branch office and registering it with the country’s central bank as a foreign payment system operator.

This was prior to the launch of Russia’s military attack on Ukraine, it said.

“We have suspended all actions to pursue the registration in Russia at this time,” the firm stated.

Besides, Discover is barring acceptance of cards issued by all Russian and Belarusian banks that run on Discover Global Network as well as through its partner networks.

The company previously halted all transactions by sanctioning Russian Banks on its network.

Discover and Diners Club International do not have any active partnerships in Russia and Belarus. These countries do not accept Discover, Diners Club, Network Alliance Partners, and PULSE and the company does not issue cards here.

The move by Discover follows the decision by other US payment majors to suspend their operations in Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

Visa, and Mastercard suspended their network services in Russia while American Express halted all operations in Russia and Belarus.

Meanwhile, Russia is turning to China’s UnionPay to issue cards.   

The Bank of Russia said that Russian banks will look to use UnionPay after credit cards issued by Russian lenders using the Visa and Mastercard payment systems stop functioning overseas after 9 March 2021.

The central bank added that the banks could start issuing cards co-badging the domestic Mir payments system along with UnionPay.

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