The Chinese payment system UnionPay prohibited the service of its cards issued by foreign banks in POS terminals of Russian acquiring banks that were sanctioned. These cards are mainly held by Chinese tourists, but payment through WeChat is more important to them.
The company could take that step for fear of secondary sanctions. The cards stopped working in the spring, RBC reported, citing sources.
Acceptance of foreign cards from the UnionPay system was disabled “by verbal notification only,” the source said.
In April, some Russian banks announced plans to issue UnionPay cards in the fall. Cardholders could use it to withdraw cash, pay for goods and services both in Russia and abroad.
As of mid-April, some 500,000 UnionPay cards had been issued in Russia. At the same time, virtual ones have been issued more frequently to pay for goods and services on the Internet. Russian banks that have fallen under Western sanctions are being forced to abandon card-issuing projects of the Chinese UnionPay payment system.
UnionPay is afraid to cooperate with sanctioned Russian banks due to the risk of secondary sanctions. The Chinese payment system was seen as a partial alternative to Visa and Mastercard, which stopped working in Russia on March 10.
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