Apple blocks loophole that allowed Apple Pay to continue working in Russia

By | March 27, 2022

By the end of February, Apple announced it was suspending Apple Pay in Russia due to the war against Ukraine. While Visa and Mastercard cards were made immediately unavailable, the Russian Mir card was still working with Apple’s own payment service, but not anymore.

Reuters reported that Russia’s home-grown system Mir “remained connected to Apple Pay until that access was removed on Thursday, according to Russia’s National Card Payment System (NSPK).”

“Apple has informed NSPK it is suspending support for Mir cards in the Apple Pay payment service. Starting from March 24, users cannot add new Mir cards to the service. Apple will stop all operations of previously added cards over the next few days,” NSPK said on Friday.

To Reuters, Sberbank said that “Mir cards in Apple Pay will not be available” with Apple restricting access.

By the time the first sanctions landed, these were the Russian banks affected: VTB Group, Sovcombank, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, and Otkritie. The Central Bank of Russia also noted at the time that cards issued by these five banks no longer work with Apple Pay or Google Pay, as both platforms are US-based.

Apple’s own payment system was launched in Russia in 2016. Now, six years after, the service has been blocked due to the war against Ukraine. As of now, it’s unclear when Apple will bring back Pay to the country.

It’s worth noting that Russian customers will still be able to make contactless payments using their physical cards within Russia, but as of now Apple and Google digital wallets have been suspended in the country indefinitely.

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