Customers at a number of banks in Russia can no longer use their bank cards with Google Pay and Apple Pay due to newly imposed financial sanctions on the country, reports Insider† According to a press release from the Russian Central Bank, financial institutions affected include VTB Group, Sovcombank, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank and Otkritie FC Bank.
While customers in Russia will still be able to use bank cards from these institutions, they will no longer work abroad or make online payments to stores and services belonging to countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia. This also includes card payments via Apple Pay and Google Pay, although the Central Bank says contactless payments will still be available with the bank cards themselves as they support it.
Google and Apple did not immediately respond to The edge‘s request for comment.
Google Pay and Apple Pay are not as popular in Russia as they are in the US. According to statistics recorded in 2020, Russia’s most popular mobile payment service was Russia-owned Sberbank Online, followed by YooMoney (formerly Yandex Money) and QIWI, two other Russian payment service providers. At the time, 29 percent of Russians said they used Google Pay, while 20 percent used Apple Pay.
Several countries have imposed financial sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. According to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, sanctions imposed by the European Union target 70 percent of Russia’s banking network. The US has imposed sanctions on Sberbank and VTB Bank, two of Russia’s largest financial institutions, while the UK has frozen the assets of five Russian banks.
As nations weigh in to block Russia from SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the financial system used to communicate transactions around the world, the US, EU and UK are in the process of directly imposing sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin.