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Why Visa and MasterCard May Say 'Do Svidanya' to Russia

A sanctions showdown between Moscow and Washington could soon produce its first major U.S. casualties. Visa and MasterCard may pull out of Russia because a new law there would require them to pay steep fees to continue operating in the country.

The legislation, enacted after Visa and MasterCard stopped processing payments at four Russian banks hit by U.S. sanctions earlier this year, would force the card companies to keep hundreds of millions of dollars in collateral on deposit at Russia’s central bank. The money could be forfeited if they suspend services in the future.