Following the imposition of sanctions on Russian banks and the departure from Russia of the Visa and Mastercard payment systems, the usual payment methods abroad stopped working. However, the situation is by no means hopeless. There are several ways to pay for expenses in hotels, restaurants and shops abroad. It is true that there are always risks that one of these methods will not work in a particular situation.
The Russian payment system “Mir” does not depend on external factors. These cards work not only in Russia. On the Mir card site, the countries where this card can be used to pay for goods or services, withdraw money from ATMs, are indicated. The list includes Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But in each case there are features.
For example, in Turkey, such cards can only be used at Is Bankasi, Ziraat Bankasi and Vakifbank ATMs, as well as for payment at some points of sale. According to reviews from Mir cardholders, they work best with Ziraat bank.
It is better not to withdraw cash and not to pay at points of sale with a Mir card linked to a ruble account. In this case, the cancellation is carried out in two stages, with the rubles converted first into dollars, and then into the national currency of another country.
Bank cards of the Chinese payment system are among the most common in the world. They are also issued in Russian banks. Data about the cardholder’s citizenship is not transmitted during payment processing, and international payment systems do not in any way recognize that a Russian is paying for a product or service. This card can be used to pay for purchases in foreign stores, book hotels, rent cars abroad. You can also pay by card in online stores. But in most countries, UnionPay cards issued by sanctioned banks will not work.
In addition, some stores have instructed acquiring banks not to make payments with cards issued in Russia. In other cases abroad, the UnionPay card may not work in certain stores, gas stations, cafes, if the bank serving these establishments does not have an agreement with the Chinese system. You can also withdraw cash from this card not everywhere.
Foreign bank cards
Banks from foreign countries are not affected by the sanctions in any way, which means that the cards issued by them must work abroad. Some Russian citizens now travel abroad, often to neighboring countries like Armenia or Uzbekistan, to apply for foreign bank cards. Also, you can open an account remotely. For example, by proxy, bank accounts are opened in Kazakhstan, Armenia. It is necessary to issue a power of attorney for a local representative. You will fulfill all the conditions, open a bank account, receive a card in the Visa, Mastercard or UnionPay systems and send them by mail to Russia.
How to top up a foreign account
Suppose a foreign account is open and the card is in hand, but here a new question arises – how to replenish the account. Russian banks through their websites inform customers about the easy transfer of funds to foreign bank cards or accounts. For example, Sberbank indicates that in the SberBank Online application, you can select the desired country and bank, enter the recipient’s phone number and amount, and the money will arrive instantly. But before opening a card in a foreign bank, it is worth clarifying exactly how it can be recharged. For example, cards issued in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan can theoretically be recharged with transfers through the Mir payment system.
You can transfer money by phone number through Sberbank or Tinkoff Bank. But the list of countries is limited. In Sberbank, according to the data published on the website, money can be transferred by phone number to banks in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Transnistria. The Tinkoff Bank website indicates that you can transfer money to various banks in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. Commission – 1% of the transfer amount.
What if through SWIFT?
In theory, transfers via SWIFT are possible for any bank, except for those disconnected from the system due to sanctions. However, on the Internet you can find many complaints that even in non-disconnected banks, transfers via SWIFT do not arrive or are very late. But, financiers explain, the slowdown is due to the fact that the sending bank often does not have a correspondent relationship with the receiving bank, and the financial message passes through a chain of intermediaries. As a result, SWIFT transfers take an average of seven days, and typically one day.
Transfers by card number (not through NSPK) are now possible when making payments through payment systems and other intermediaries. Some banks allow you to make them, for example, to Uzbekistan on cards of domestic payment systems, as well as UnionPay and Mastercard, Tajikistan (“Korti Milli”), Kyrgyzstan (“Elkart”) and Armenia (“Arka”, Visa Mastercard ).
The situation is constantly changing. For example, in Uzbekistan today there are significant restrictions on cross-currency conversion for non-residents. At the same time, transfers on the Mir card were initially suspended there, but now they have been allowed again. Those who want to get a card of the international payment system from a foreign bank will need a main card, a card of the domestic payment system and a ruble account. You can get a card and UnionPay to be able to make transfers from the Russian UnionPay card to the UnionPay card of the selected country (if this possibility is maintained), and then to VISA, Mastercard.
Through Russian banks, it is now possible to transfer money to an account in a foreign bank or to a card in a foreign bank, but only by account details, and not by card number. You will need to specify the details of the recipient of the transfer: the full name of the recipient or the name of the organization, account number or IBAN, SWIFT code, BIC or the full name and address of the recipient’s bank. These transfers are made by banks that have not been sanctioned. But the bank should clarify whether it will be possible to make a transfer. You can also make a SWIFT transfer at Gazprombank and Raiffeisenbank.
Russian payment systems
You can also make transfers abroad through Russian money transfer systems. These are the Golden Crown payment system, Unistream and QIWI-Contact. But not all banks work with them.
The Unistream system has the most opportunities. The site informs customers that transfers can be made to the US, some European countries, CIS countries, as well as to China, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, and several other countries. You can get cash in 19 countries. You can send money through Unistream points as well as through the website and mobile app.
With the help of the “Golden Crown”, you can send funds from Russia to countries near and far abroad. The list, for example, includes Georgia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, Turkey, and several other countries. However, residents of Russia cannot transfer money without opening a bank account to their accounts opened in foreign banks, as well as to the details of their cards issued by foreign banks.
Residents of Russia cannot transfer currency to accounts, wallets and cards in other countries through Contact.
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