Apple ends Apple Pay support for Mir cards in Russia

Apple has stopped supporting Mir cards on Apple Pay in Russia, bringing to a halt the use of Russia’s national payment system on its platforms.

The Interfax news agency reports that Apple has informed the National Payment Card System that it is ending support for the Russian payment system’s Mir cards on Apple Pay. In a statement, the NPCS said that loading of new cards had become unavailable as of Thursday, March 24, and that Apple would suspend the operation of previously loaded cards in the next few days.

100% of NPCS’s shares are held by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. The Mir payment system and the NPCS were developed out of a response to sanctions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, which rendered cards issued by international card networks useless. A source with knowledge of the matter explained to iMore that the system is a self-contained national payment processing system that doesn’t rely on Swift, and supports transactions including contactless payments and card-to-card transfers.

The source told iMore that MIR and the NPCS was vital in propping up Russia’s banking system after VISA and Mastercard withdrew from the country and it was cut off from Swift following its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. It is only because of the NPCS that Russians are still able to use their bank cards in the country. They further added that in response to the sanctions lots of citizens hastened to order Mir cards because they feared VISA cards might stop working, with some banks reporting shortages of the plastic needed to issue the cards.

NPCS means that most of these payment systems continue to work unaffected in the country, however Apple will stop supporting all such transactions on Apple Pay going forward.

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