China’s Banks Rush to Help Russia Amid War With Ukraine

China's Banks Rush to Help Russia Amid War With Ukraine

( -Since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February, governments have debated how far to go with sanctions. It seems that many businesses are moving ahead with their own sanctions without the government leading the way. Several oil companies refuse to do business with Russian oil producers, and credit card companies are now joining the bans.

On Saturday, March 5, Mastercard and Visa announced they suspended operations in Russia. Credit cards will no longer be functional inside Russia, and credit cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be usable after March 9. So, the Russian Central Bank is taking matters into its own hands. On Sunday, the central bank said several of Russia’s banks intend to issue cards using UnionPay – a Chinese credit card operating system.

UnionPay is operational in 174 countries and regions through nearly 2000 institutions and specializes in providing payment services across international borders. As an alternative to Visa and Mastercard, Russia’s Mir Network will partner with UnionPay to issue cards. Still, it won’t happen all at once. Russia’s largest lender said it’s studying the co-badged cards and could announce a cooperative relationship at another time. It’s unknown if the system will work similarly to Visa or Mastercard. Still, Russian banks say the cards will allow customers to make payments for products and services and cash withdrawals outside the country.

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