Apple Pay ends support for Russian banks sanctioned for war in Ukraine

Several Russian banks sanctioned over Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine will no longer support major payment services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB — and other banks such as Sovcombank, Otkritie, Novikombank and Promsvyazbank — are on the list of companies sanctioned by the United States, the Bank of Russia confirmed on Friday.

Users of debit and credit cards issued by these banks will no longer be able to use Apple Pay and Google Pay, the central bank said in the announcement, adding that contact or contactless payments will still be fully available across Russia.

Customers will also no longer be able to pay with these cards for products and services sold online from countries that support the sanctions, the statement said.

Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, is also one of the sanctioned banks, the Bank of Russia said in a separate announcement on Friday. The sanctions are specifically aimed at Sberbank’s correspondent accounts.

Aside from the fact that some Russian cards are blocked from Apple Pay and Google Pay, some sanctioned Russian banks are also having issues with the Apple Store and Google Store because of their involvement in decisions about the Donetsk People’s Republic of Ukraine and the Luhansk People’s Republic.

Apple reportedly DELETED mobile applications by the sanctioned Promsvyazbank on Wednesday, with at least three apps removed from the App Store. Google has also reportedly removed the bank’s main application from the store.

Russians have been increasingly withdrawing money from their bank accounts, as some officials have warned of banks potentially seizing retail deposits in the event that sanctions go too far. Users have reportedly withdrawn 111.3 billion rubles ($1.3 billion) from Russian banks on the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the largest outflow since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago.

Significant outflow of banks has apparently continued as many customers are online continued to report that ATMs are emptying and large queues to cash out on Friday.

While some on-chain data suggests that Ukrainians have started using crypto more and more in the wake of the Russian invasion, it can be difficult to get recent data on Russians’ crypto exposure as the country has no legal exchanges that share trading volumes. to follow. Major locally operating exchanges such as Binance declined to comment on the matter to Coin-Crypto.

Related: Crypto Could Get Around President Biden’s ‘Devastating’ Sanctions Against Russian Banks and Elites: Report

According to data from crypto data provider Coin Dance, Russia’s crypto trading volumes on major peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins have fallen in recent months, drop almost 100% between November 2021 and early February 2022.

According to Jukka Blomberg, chief marketing officer at LocalBitcoins, the platform has seen no major changes in inflows or outflows in Russia and Ukraine in the past week. “During February 24, the activity on the LocalBitcoins platform in Ukraine increased by 30% compared to normal and there were also slight increases in the activity on the LocalBitcoins platform in Russia,” Blomberg told Coin-Crypto.

Weekly LocalBitcoins volume. Source: Coin Dance

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