Virtual private network (VPN) services are getting a big boost from the wave of stories about governments snooping on the internet activities of citizens this year. It’s a reminder that the desire to surf anonymously isn’t just about piracy. So probably not a great time for credit card companies Mastercard and Visa to start refusing to process payments (through intermediaries) for VPN services. That’s what TorrentFreak claims is happening though, quoting Swedish payment provider Payson as saying it was ‘complying with an urgent requirement from Visa and Mastercard to stop accepting payments for VPN services’. Among the services affected are iPredator, which was launched in late 2009 by the team behind The Pirate Bay. Not being able to charge customers through their credit cards is a headache for VPNs rather than a damaging blow to their businesses, but the non-piratical reasons for using these services will be sure to spark debate over the fairness of Visa and Mastercard’s policies.