Visa, MasterCard Taking Action Against VPN Providers

STOCKHOLM — MasterCard and Visa reportedly have now started to take action against virtual private network (VPN) providers in an apparent move to target websites that could be linked to copyright infringement.

Swedish payment provider cut access to VPN providers such as and other anonymizing services after being ordered to do so by the credit card companies.

The VPN providers offer encrypted tunnels so that consumers IP address turns into anonymous ones.

Other VPN providers, such as Anonine, Mullvad, VPNTunnel and Privatvpn, among others, also are using Payson processing.

iPredator founder Peter Sunde told TorrentFreak that he is considering legal action to get the service unblocked.

TorrentFreak noted that there’s an unwritten rule that MasterCard and Visa don’t accept file-hosting sites that have an affiliate program. PayPal, meanwhile, has pulled accounts of file-sharing websites this year.

Payson last week delivered email notices as seen on this website that VPN services are no longer allowed to accept Visa and Mastercard payments due to a policy change, which went into effect on Monday.

Clients, such as iPredator's Sunde, were left with a two-day window to find alternatives for its own customers. iPredator charges SEK150, about $25, for three months of access.

Sunde, when reached by XBIZ on Thursday, said MasterCard and Visa are "acting like an illegal cartel."

"I'm always upset when companies in a monopoly decide what other companies are allowed to do or not. MasterCard and Visa are essentially a monopoly on any payments, which are the fundament for any sort of business transaction between customers and companies," Sunde told XBIZ.

"They're acting as an illegal cartel pushing their ethical views on other companies and their customers in other parts of the world, which is violating so many human rights. It's a direct censorship, echoing a bad taste of 1984-ish control. We as a society need to fix this!

"Visa and MasterCard needs to be heavily regulated and they need lots of competition. They're acting worse than most mafia families."