Until 2014, Visa and Mastercard cards were popular in Russia. When the West first imposed sanctions, the MIR national payment system was developed. Demand for it increased in 2022, when geopolitical tensions escalated again. Our compatriots began to ask more and more often which card is better: Visa, MasterCard or MIR. By the principle of operation, all systems are similar. However, each of them offers cardholders their own privileges. In addition, the first 2 systems work in all countries. “MIR” is distributed only in the Russian Federation.
What happened on March 10, 2022?
On March 10, 2022, payment systems announced the suspension of support for cards issued in Russia. This means that Russian Visa and Mastercard cannot be used to make settlement transactions abroad. We will tell you which card is better to take: “MIR”, “Visa” or “Mastercard”, what to do with the available means of payment, the validity period of which has ended.
How is MIR different from other payment systems?
In terms of functionality and principle of operation, there are no differences. The MIR card is linked to a salary or savings account. Through it, you can transfer money, pay for goods or services, withdraw cash.
The difference is in prevalence. MIR operates only in Russia and some CIS countries. You will not be able to pay with such a card abroad. Other differences are:
- Supported currency. MIR is linked only to ruble accounts. International systems allow the client to choose euros, dollars and even yuan.
- Ability to connect to payment services. MIR is not compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
No negative changes in the national payment system are expected. However, many clients are accustomed to the “Visa” and are in no hurry to issue a “MIR”. We will try to understand whether it is worth abandoning the usual cards.
What will happen to Visa and Mastercard next?
The news about the termination of servicing cards issued in Russia caused a real panic not only among large entrepreneurs. Ordinary citizens are also concerned about the current situation. Let’s analyze how events related to Visa and MasterCard will develop in Russia.
Will it be possible to pay with Visa in stores?
Within the Russian Federation, all transactions will be carried out as usual. All payments go through the Russian NSPK. Therefore, after the termination of cooperation between foreign systems and banks, operations will be carried out as usual. It will be possible to pay only with a plastic card.
Mobile payment systems no longer support Russian cards. It is no longer possible to pay for purchases through a phone or smart watch. You will have to carry a card with you and remember the PIN code. The exception is Mir Pay. It is compatible only with MIR and Android OS and continues to work in standard mode.
How to withdraw and transfer money?
No changes to these operations are yet foreseen. ATMs will continue to perform their functions as usual. Through them it will be possible to transfer money by card or phone number. Mobile applications of Russian banks will also work.
Card expires: what to do?
Until the end of the validity period, the card will work on the territory of Russia. After that, the bank will reissue the means of payment, however, it will be serviced by the MIR system. The expiration date is indicated on the front side of the card, you need to pay attention to it.
Some banks plan to make payment instruments perpetual. Automatic renewal is also expected after the expiration of the validity period. This means that card transactions can be carried out even after the date indicated on the plastic carrier. You do not have to apply for an extension or reissue. Extended or unlimited validity cards offer:
- “Alfa Bank”;
When placing online orders, you must enter the validity period indicated on the card, even if it has ended.
How to pay for purchases on Russian and foreign sites?
In the case of domestic sites, for example, Ozon, no changes are expected. All payment transactions will be carried out in the standard mode. Such sites are hosted on Russian domains and support both Visa and Mastercard, as well as the national payment system. If the site name ends in .рф or .ru, there will be no problems with payment.
The situation is more complicated with foreign sites. Visa and Mastercard will not be accepted. Russians are offered the following alternatives:
- Using the Chinese payment system UnionPay. Not all Russian banks issue such cards. However, their number will increase in the future.
- Payment by MIR card. Not all sites support this system. You can pay for MIR services at the Turkish Airlines site.
- Transfer via mobile balance. This method is supported by the App Store app catalog.
Among the foreign sites there are those that are registered in Russia. For example, Chinese AliExpress, where orders can be paid with Russian Visa and Mastercard.
Which card should a Russian citizen choose?
The differences between the systems are gradually being erased, so it is difficult to understand which card: Visa, Mastercard or MIR of Sberbank is better. Until the expiration date, you can continue to use your usual means of payment. The MIR card is considered a worthy alternative, but some of the functions are still missing in it. For example, transfer amounts are limited for some financial products.
Financial blogger, investment expert