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15 Aug, 2018 13:40

Crimea ditches Visa & MasterCard in favor of Russian national payment system

Crimea ditches Visa & MasterCard in favor of Russian national payment system

US payment systems Visa and MasterCard are no longer present on Russia's Crimean Peninsula. The republic’s largest bank has finished the procedure of switching all plastic cards to Russia’s Mir payment system.

“On August 14, the process of replacing Visa and MasterCard plastic cards in favour of the Mir payment system has ended. Visa and MasterCard plastic cards issued by Genbank, which have not been replaced, are not serviced since August 14,” the Crimean bank said.

However, Genbank would still accept Visa and MasterCard cards issued by other banks outside Crimea at its ATMs. The bank had been the only financial institution in Crimea to issue cards of foreign operators.

Mir is a Russian payment system established by the Central Bank of Russia in 2015. It is currently accepted mostly by Russia-based companies, such as Aeroflot or Russian Railways, but is gradually gaining acceptance among foreign companies with Russian operations.

The payment system was launched after the United States and its allies imposed sanctions against Russia in 2014. The Russian government ordered the establishment of a national payment system due to concerns the country would be cut off from international payment systems.

In 2014, both Visa and MasterCard announced the termination of work on the Crimean Peninsula after the region became the target of Western sanctions after joining the Russian Federation. However, bank cards using the payment systems continued to operate in the Crimea long after Visa and MasterCard were obliged to move their Russian operations to servers in Russia.

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