Additional two Moscow allies quit accepting Russian payment card

(MENAFN) The utilization of the Mir bank card, which operates within Russia's payment system, will soon cease in Kyrgyzstan and in the majority of Kazakh banks, marking a significant development as former Soviet republics navigate potential Ukraine-related sanctions.

According to announcements made on Tuesday, the Russian Mir payment card will be rendered inoperable in Kyrgyzstan beginning Friday, April 5, as declared by the country’s local payments operator. This decision was attributed to concerns over the nation’s technological infrastructure being vulnerable to secondary sanctions. Meanwhile, regulators in Kazakhstan have yet to release an official statement regarding the matter.

The recent decision follows a similar move by the Union of Armenian Banks last month, where Armenia's financial institutions ceased honoring Mir cards effective March 30, citing similar concerns over potential sanctions. Additionally, there are indications that Belarus and Tajikistan may also halt acceptance of Mir cards, as reported by an anonymous source referenced by Kommersant.

Russia's National Card Payment System (NSPK), the operator of the Mir payment card system, acknowledged receiving a warning from Elkart, the Kyrgyz national payment system, regarding the cessation of Mir card operations in the Central Asian country. As a result, users of Mir cards will face restrictions, including the inability to conduct non-cash transactions at point-of-sale terminals, withdraw cash from ATMs, transfer funds between cards, or make internet payments, according to the Interbank Processing Centre (IPC).

The popularity of the Mir payment card system surged in response to Ukraine-related sanctions, as it offered an alternative for cross-border transactions amid restrictions imposed by Western financial systems like SWIFT. However, in February, the United States Treasury escalated measures by adding the operator of Russia’s Mir payment card system to its blacklist of sanctioned entities, further complicating Russia's financial landscape.


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