MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/. Some Russian banks are saying they will possibly issue co-badged cards linking Russia’s Mir and China’s UnionPay systems that will provide the option of payment for purchases and cash withdrawals abroad.
Sberbank and Alfa Bank are some of the banks that are considering this step.
"Sberbank is studying the possibility of issuing co-badged cards Mir-UnionPay," the lender said. "We will notify about the time of the launch at a later time."
Alfa Bank said, "We are already at work to launch cards based on UnionPay."
A person that answered a call center line at Tinkoff Bank said the lender had these plans as well.
Some Russian banks already operate the UnionPay payment system. They include Rosselkhozbank, Pochta Bank, Gazprombank, Bank St. Petersburg, Promsvyazbank, Russian Regional Development Bank also known as VBRR, Primsotsbank, Zenit and Sovcombank.
China’s UnionPay is an international payment system founded in 2002. UnionPay is accepted in 180 countries including Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Cyprus, Thailand, India, Israel, Portugal, Croatia, Poland, Serbia, Hungary and Austria.
Visa and Mastercard said they would limit their operations in Russia in the next few days. Russian banks believe Visa and Mastercard cards issued by Russian banks will work as before in Russia and other countries for about three days. Afterward, these cards will remain usable inside Russia as their transactions will be handled by a Russian national operator, but they won’t be accepted for payment abroad.