Apple has closed a loophole that was allowing some Russians to keep using its mobile payment service even though the economic sanctions have been ongoing, an Engadget report says.
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The company told Russia’s biggest bank on Thursday that it wouldn’t be supporting the Russian Mir payments system on Apple Pay.
Engadget writes that the Central Bank of Russia established Mir after the U.S. and other countries put sanctions on Russia back in 2014 after the country’s annexation of Crimea.
Statistics from the Central Bank show that Mir cards are used in over 25% of all card transactions from Russia.
The report notes that cards from big Russian institutions like VTB Group and Sovcombank had ceased working with Apple Pay and Google Pay after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
“Apple has informed NSPK it is suspending support for Mir cards in the Apple Pay payment service,” the National Card Payment System said Friday. “Starting from March 24th, users cannot add new Mir cards to the service. Apple will stop all operations of previously added cards over the next few days.”
Google has also taken similar actions.
PYMNTS wrote that Pavel Zavalny, head of the Russian State Duma’s Committee on Energy, might not have been serious in suggesting that the government would sell its natural gas for bitcoin on March 23. A day prior to that, Christine Lagarde, European Central Bank president, a crypto skeptic, said the volumes of rubles into stablecoins and cryptos was at the highest level that they’d seen since around 2021, as she was speaking to the Bank for International Settlements.
Lagarde’s assessment doesn’t match what’s been happening on crypto exchanges, with several sources contradicting that.
The data isn’t comprehensive of every exchange, but as of March 18, crypto purchases in rubles were at $7.4 million – down from $70 million on March 7.