According to a Reuters report, Apple Pay will no longer support Russia’s Mir card payment system, closing a loophole that would allow Russians to continue using the service amid economic sanctions against the country.
“Apple has informed NSPK [Russia’s National Payment Card System] that it is suspending support for ‘Mir’ cards in the payment service Apple Pay,” a translated announcement reads on Mir’s site. “Since March 24, it is no longer possible to upload new ‘Mir’ maps to the service.” The company also notes that any Mir cards previously added to Apple Pay will stop working “in the next few days.” Apple Pay first added support for Mir cards last year.
Many Russian users are already cut off from Apple Pay and Google Pay
According to The Guardian, Mir is owned by the Central Bank of Russia and was created in response to economic sanctions against Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014. Central Bank statistics say Mir cards make up about 32 percent of all new cards issued in the country.
Google is also taking steps to cut ties with Mir, the WSJ reports. The company has reportedly suspended a pilot program – which started last October – that will allow users to link their Mir cards to Google Pay. “Google Pay is pausing payment-related services in Russia due to a disruption of payment services beyond our control,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the WSJ.
The Verge contacted Google and Apple with a request for comment, but didn’t hear back immediately.
Many Russian users have been cut off from Apple Pay and Google Pay after several countries imposed financial sanctions on major Russian banks, including VTB Group, Sovcombank, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank and Otkritie FC Bank. Earlier this month, Visa and MasterCard suspended operations in Russia, preventing Russians from using their credit or debit cards outside the country or for international online payments.