Russia cannot compensate for the departure of Visa and Mastercard by switching to the Chinese credit card UnionPay.
This is according to the reports that came as Western businesses depart from Russia due to the sanctions imposed because of Moscow’s war on Ukraine.
Online retailers based abroad have blocked payments using all cards issued in Russia, including those of UnionPay, Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Many people had hoped that they could make payments using cards issued by Chinese banks following the shutdown of Visa and Mastercard in Russia.
Some 500,000 UnionPay credit cards have been issued in Russia, a tenfold increase within a month, the report said.
Most of the cards were digital and were issued for purchases online.
However, this has proved problematic as most global sellers and their banks no longer accept payment using cards issued in Russia.
Theoretically, UnionPay could remedy the issue, but so far the Chinese credit card group has made no effort to do so, the report said.
Western governments imposed far-reaching sanctions on the financial sector and others after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Many financial institutions have been excluded from the SWIFT banking communication network and Visa and Mastercard, the world’s largest credit card operators, have suspended business in Russia.
Cards issued in Russia have not been accepted abroad since March 10 and foreign Visa and Mastercard cards no longer work in Russia.
The Russian government promised to replace them with its own credit card system called Mir by switching to UnionPay cards.
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