Solidarity with Ukraine: Paysera to halt transfers to and from Russia, close accounts of its Russian clients
Paysera, one of the largest and longest-running financial technology companies in the Baltic States, shows solidarity with Ukraine while also reducing risks in the Russian market. The company will no longer process transactions in Russian roubles, close its Russian clients' accounts, and restrict money transfers to and from Russian banks. The company encourages other financial institutions to stand in solidarity with Ukraine and suspend operations related to Russia.
The restrictions on financial transactions will mostly affect Russian residents since the accounts of legal entities will be closed. Accounts of private individuals will be closed if the individual does not have the right to reside in another country deemed acceptable by the company's policy. In addition, transactions in Russian roubles will be terminated. Furthermore, transfers to all Russian or Belarusian banks have been terminated for all customers if the recipient is a Russian or Belarusian company. Companies that are registered outside Russia but whose main shareholders are Russian citizens (without the right to reside in one of the countries acceptable to the company) will not be able to stay as the company's clients.
"The EU sanctions imposed on Russian banks on February 22 are a compromise, intended to be approved by all EU member states. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainians and will no longer process nearly all transactions related to Russia. While we understand that we are not a giant in the financial market, we do want to send the message that we can all have an impact through the choices we make. While we refuse to transfer money, someone else might refuse to insure, produce, advise, invest, or provide transport", says Gintautas Mežetis, CEO of Paysera.
He explains that by imposing restrictions on Russia-related operations, the company is also reducing operational risk.
"Although we cannot impose sanctions, we do have the right to choose which clients we find acceptable and the extent of services we want to provide to them. It is not enough to impose sanctions only on the decision-makers. There are many people driving tanks and contributing to the occupation of Ukraine who we are unable to identify. Russian citizens are partly responsible for the existing government and its decisions, just as Belarusian citizens are partly responsible for the Belarusian government and its decisions," says the CEO of Paysera.
Clients will be notified of the restrictions on transactions in the coming days. Under the company's agreement with its clients, a 60-day notice period is required before implementing the restrictions.
According to G. Mežetis, it is possible that in the next month or two, the EU and the US will impose stricter sanctions on Russia's financial sector than those introduced on February 22. In this case, Paysera would implement the EU or US sanctions immediately instead of having to comply with the notice period, in line with the applicable legal requirements.
Paysera restrictions on money transactions linked to Russia:
- Russian citizens will no longer be able to use Paysera (this restriction does not apply for Russian citizens with residency or work permits in other supported countries). Current accounts will be closed. All affected clients will be contacted separately.
- Russian and Belarusian companies will not be able to use Paysera accounts. All current business accounts will be closed following the notice.
- Transactions to Russian and Belarusian banks will not be executed if the recipient of funds is a business account (transactions between private individuals will not be restricted but will get checked more thoroughly and supporting documents might be needed). Paysera keeps the right to apply exceptions to some transfers to Russian banks.
- Money transfers from Russian and Belarusian banks received on Monday (February 23 and later) will be returned back to the senders.
- Currency exchange to Russian Roubles (RUB) will no longer be available for Paysera clients.
- New business accounts will not be opened to companies whose main shareholder does not have a permit to live or work in one of the supported countries.
Paysera is a Lithuanian fintech company founded in 2004 in Vilnius. Last year, customers transferred 6.5 billion EUR via the Paysera app and online banking, 38% more than the previous year. The company is one of the largest non-banking payment operators in the Baltics, providing payment gateway services to 13,000 e-shops in different countries. Paysera offers payment processing by cards, through banks, fintech companies and international payment systems in 20 European countries. Historically, the company is the first e-money institution in Lithuania, having received its licence in 2012.