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China’s UnionPay Secures More Russian Banking Business

China’s UnionPay cards are expected to be issued by leading Russian banks – Credit Bank of Moscow and DOM.RF – from early 2023; 11 others are already issuing them

An increasing number of Russian tourists are using Chinese credit cards when visiting countries such as Finland.
Russian tourists have been using UnionPay credit cards to make big withdrawals in Finland in recent weeks since it became easier for them to cross the border. This image shows a UnionPay sign is seen outside a pawn shop in Macau. Photo: Reuters.


China’s UnionPay cards are expected to be issued by leading Russian banks Credit Bank of Moscow and DOM.RF from early 2023, Russia Briefing reported.

The new bank cards, from one of China’s major card schemes, will enable Russians to conduct business abroad, Russia Briefing said, and will be co-branded by UnionPay and Mir, Russia’s Central Bank owned electronic payment system.

UnionPay cards were primarily intended for Chinese tourism, said Expert RA analyst Evgeny Romanov in a Banks report, but Russians can also use the cards in other countries, although demand will depend on the cost.

The big banks are Russia’s latest to adopt the Shanghai-based financial service, after the war in Ukraine prompted Western firms Visa and MasterCard to suspend operations in the country.


China Moves Into Russian Banking

Eleven other major Russian banks, including Gazprombank, RSHB, Bank Saint Petersburg and Zenit, have already made the switch to China’s Union Pay, Russia Briefing said, with the likes of Absolut Bank, Rosbank, Ak Bars and Home Credit expressing plans to do the same.

However, business with Russian banks will remain controlled and limited, Romanov noted, due to China’s fear of sanctions by the US.

Union Pay could gain a 5-8% share of Russia’s card payment economy, Russia’s Novikombank told Russia Briefing, as long as Visa and MasterCard do not lift their bans in the near future.


  • By Alfie Habershon




Read more:

Russian Banks Seek Tie-Up With China’s UnionPay After Card Ban


China’s UnionPay Wary of Deals With Russian Banks – RBC


China, Russia Central Bank Officials Meet Over Payments System




Alfie Habershon

Alfie is a Reporter at Asia Financial. He previously lived in Mumbai reporting on India's economy and healthcare for data journalism initiative IndiaSpend, as well as having worked for London based Tortoise Media.


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