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March 3, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 9:53am

PayPal halts onboarding new users in Russia amid Ukraine conflict

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US-based digital payment giant PayPal has put a hold on onboarding new users in Russia in light of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, reported Reuters.

PayPal only facilitates cross-border remittance for its Russian users.

The firm blocked several users and banks in Russia after sanctions were announced by the US and European countries in response to the invasion, a spokesperson for PayPal told the news agency.

PayPal is focusing on facilitating cross-border transactions and its Xoom service for international money transfers in Ukraine to support its users in the country.

“Since this crisis began, PayPal has actively worked to enable donations to non-profit fundraising efforts in support of Ukrainian humanitarian relief efforts,” the payments firm said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine deputy minister for digital transformation Alexander Bornyakov urged PayPal to completely shut down its operations in Russia in an interview to Reuters.   

Bornyakov was quoted as saying: “If PayPal supports democratic values, it should go out from Russia.”

Ukraine is also seeking PayPal’s help in soliciting donations to fund its armed forces, according to an emailed request from Ukraine seen by Reuters.

The payments firm, however, does not allow uses linked to ammunition and firearms on its platform.

PayPal, like many of other payment firms with a presence in Russia, is currently looking at the implications of sanctions, according to the company spokesperson.

Recently, Visa and Mastercard blocked several Russian financial institutions from their payment network in the aftermath of sanctions. Apple Pay and Google Pay also limited their services in Russia. A host of fintech firms, including Wise, Paysera, Remitly, TransferGo and Zepz, also recently suspended their payment services to Russia.

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