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Thursday, 29 September 2022

Russia’s MIR payment system isn’t getting much traction in Turkey as US, EU tighten the screws

Uptake of Russia’s MIR isn’t looking so good: Turkish state banks are planning to stop processing transactions made with MIR cards — Russia’s answer to MasterCard and Visa — after a stark warning from the US Treasury this month, Bloomberg reports, citing an unnamed Turkish official. The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control warned there would be risks for any financial institutions if they enter new agreements or expand on existing ones with the Russian operator of MIR cards. Five Turkish banks adopted the payment system last month to transact with Russian banks outside of Swift, but it appears the decision has now been reversed.

The hometown angle: The Central Bank of Egypt had been working to link MIR with Egypt’s homegrown Meeza card network with a view to making life easier for Russian holidaymakers here. Egypt’s acceptance of the card would mean visitors can pay in RUB, use their cards, and access ATMs and thus ease their transactions and payments inside Egypt. This comes as Russian tourism is expected to pick up after Russian flag carrier Aeroflot said it will resume direct flights to the Red Sea as of this Saturday, 1 October.

The EU is looking into imposing new bans on Russian imports that could cost Moscow some EUR 7 bn in revenues, according to Bloomberg. The newly-proposed sanctions include a price cap on Russian oil sold to developing countries, prohibiting EU member states from sitting on governing bodies of Russian government-owned companies and even more bans on European services, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet. Sanctioning individuals is also on the table, which would target senior Russian ministry officials and individuals involved in staging the recent referendums.

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