Russian Banks Turn To China As Visa, Mastercard Suspend Business

Russian Banks Turn To China As Visa, Mastercard Suspend Business

After Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. halted operations after the attack on Ukraine, Sberbank PJSC stated it is considering issuing cards using the Russian payments system Mir and China's UnionPay.

With UnionPay functioning in 180 countries and regions, the move may allow Russians to make certain payments abroad. Visa and Mastercard have announced that from March 10, any payments made with their cards registered in Russia would no longer be valid outside of the country.

Cards issued by local banks will continue to function in Russia through the country's payment system. Sberbank, Russia's largest lender, stated that timetables would be announced later.

In reaction to President Vladimir Putin's aggression on Ukraine, Visa and Mastercard have joined the list of foreign firms halting operations in Russia. The action isolates Russia's economy even further. According to the companies, cards issued outside Russia will not operate at ATMs or retailers inside the nation.

Alfa-Bank JSC, Russia's biggest non-state lender, is already planning on selling UnionPay cards.

The state-owned UnionPay processes the majority of card transactions in China. Emails and phone calls sent to UnionPay after-hours were not immediately responded to.

The Central Bank

Tinkoff Bank stated that it is not presently distributing such cards but that it would begin doing so as soon as possible. The Russian division of Raiffeisen Bank International AG said on its website that it was looking into the issue.

To mitigate the risks posed by international sanctions, the Bank of Russia has temporarily reduced the amount of data that commercial banks are obligated to provide. Beginning with February statements, banks will no longer be required to create accounts prepared to national standards or make any further disclosures on their websites, according to a statement issued by the central bank.

Russia's central bank recommended its people pay with cash while traveling overseas. Mir cards may also be used in Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, according to the company.