Russian banks increase usage of China’s SWIFT alternative UnionPay

With VISA and Mastercard deciding to withdraw from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, the Russia’s central bank said local lenders could look to using China’s UnionPay system.

It also went on to add, Russian-issued Mastercard and Visa cards would be accepted within Russia until their expiry.

Many Russian banks plan on issuing cards using UnionPay. The Chinese SWIF alternative is in use in more than 180 countries.

Western SWIFT sanctions on Russia are fuelling increased adoption of China’s UnionPay.

While several Russian banks already use UnionPay, others including Sberbank and Tinkoff could start issuing cards co-badging Russia’s domestic Mir payments system with UnionPay, said Russia’s central bank.

The Russian central bank has advised citizens to withdraw cash before the VISA and Mastercard ban comes into effect.

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