Multiple Russian banks are opting for the Chinese card system UnionPay for international transactions after US’s Visa and Mastercard blocked operations in protest of the Ukraine invasion.
According to Bloomberg, Russia’s Sberbank, its largest lender, and Tinkoff Bank said on Sunday that they were considering the Chinese payment system. In addition, non-state lender Alfa-Bank is already in the process of developing UnionPay-compatible cards.
State-owned UnionPay is China’s most popular card operator in 180 countries and regions. Russia’s Mir payment network will also be a part of efforts to avoid the lack of Visa and Mastercard payments overseas.
Russians can still make international transactions amid US card giants’ suspended services by turning to UnionPay. Visa and Mastercard on March 5th said they would oppose the Ukraine invasion by ceasing all services from Russia to other countries. Russian cards will not function abroad or for international payments online following the blockage.
The move would not affect domestic payments, but cards issued abroad will no longer work at shops or ATMs in Russia. Customers from other countries will also be unable to make payments to Russian firms or withdraw cash within the nation.
American Express joined Visa and Mastercard on March 6th, which said Russia’s military assault on Ukraine was “unjustified.”