Turkish banks have stopped supporting the Russian Mir payment system. This happened under pressure from the United States, which warned the banks against entering into new agreements or entering into new contracts with Mir. Two Turkish banks earlier indicated that they would stop using Mir. Now state-owned banks Halkbank, TC Ziraat Bankasi and Vakiflar Bankasi have been added.
Russia began developing its own domestic payment system in 2015 after the first series of Western sanctions. These were established after the Russian annexation of Crimea the previous year. The efforts resulted in the creation of a card payment system called Mir. But these cards are not accepted all over the world. Mir payment is currently available in a few countries, including Belarus and Kazakhstan. The payment system is popular with Russian tourists.
Turkey did not impose sanctions on Russian institutions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on August 5 that the system facilitates tourism between the two countries. However, Erdogan is said to have discussed alternatives to Mir with his finance minister last week.
The Russian authorities would like to see the cards accepted abroad. This will reduce the financial difficulties that Russians now face when traveling.
Over 100 million Mir cards have been issued in the past seven years. This means that more than half of Russia’s population has one, according to card issue numbers. Some residents have no choice. Public sector workers and retirees need the Mir Card to receive government funds and benefits. Many Russian banks say that they are also working on issuing cards using Chinese Union Pay as an alternative.
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