Google and Apple close loophole that was letting Russians use payment services
In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea and NATO nations retaliated with economic sanctions. This prompted the Central Bank of Russia to establish Mir cards, a national payment system linked to 150 banks in the Russian Federation. Cut to eight years later, another invasion, this time of Ukraine itself. Even stronger sanctions loomed, but Russians could still use Mir cards for normal online purchases if they’d tied them to an Apple or Google Pay account — until now. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google and Apple both cut Mir card users off this week. A Russian language statement posted Friday on Mir’s website stated that Apple had informed Mir that “it is suspending support for Mir cards in the Apple Pay payment service.” Google took action by pausing a plan that had been in place since late last year to let Russians link their Mir cards to Google Pay, with a spokesperson telling the WSJ that the pause was the “result of payment services disruption out of our control.” These both follow Visa and Mastercard exiting the country as well.