Payment companies Wise and Remitly suspend money transfer activities in Russia

The Wise logo is seen on a smartphone in front of a displayed detail of the same logo in this illustration taken June 18, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Cross-border payments company Wise and money transfer processor Remitly have suspended money transfer services in Russia, following new sanctions over the weekend against the country in response to his invasion of Ukraine.

A spokesperson for Wise, based in London, said it would continue to monitor the situation and “keep these measures under constant watch”.

Wise, a fintech company formerly known as TransferWise, holds balances in countries on popular currency routes to avoid the high fees traditionally associated with international money transfers.

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Last week, Wise limited daily transfers to Russia to 200 pounds ($268.34). A company spokesperson said the limits were put in place at the time “to ensure that we can offer our service to as many people as possible”.

On Saturday, the United States and its allies announced they would take action against Russia’s central bank and bar some of the country’s banks from the international payments system SWIFT, in a move that experts have seen as a significant escalation in sanctions of the West against Moscow. Read more

A spokesperson said Wise had suspended all money transfers to Russia following the new restrictions. A separate Remitly spokesperson confirmed that Remitly has also stopped supporting money transfers to Russia due to the new sanctions.

Wise also capped transfers to Ukraine, citing growing difficulties in operating his service in the country.

He added in a blog post that he plans to remove this cap as soon as possible and said he has waived fees on more than 500,000 pounds of personal transfers to Ukraine “to help customers who may have urgent needs”.

Russia has called its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.

($1 = 0.7453 pounds)

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Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington; edited by Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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