Russian payment system Mir is widely available in Kazakhstan

Finance columnist
Although not every bank here is eager to accept these Russian cards
система Мир
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Four Kazakhstani commercial banks have confirmed to the Kursiv edition that they still accept Mir cards for payments or cash-out transactions. However, no bank issues this type of payment card in Kazakhstan.

On September 19, two of five Turkish commercial banks that worked with the Russian national payment system Mir said that they stopped accepting these cards. According to media reports, the reason these two Turkish banks decided not to cooperate with Mir is the risk of secondary sanctions. For instance, Financial Times reported that the U.S. government had pushed Turkish banks to persuade them to stop working with the Russian payment system. The edition cited people familiar with the issue who said that Washington doesn’t want to leave any loophole for Moscow to evade sanctions.

Mir has already closed the section of its website with names of banks that still work with the system. However, in a phone conversation, an employee of Mir said that in Kazakhstan four banks, including Halyk Bank, Bank CenterCredit, VTB and the former Sber, still support transactions with these cards.

«Some of these banks can decide on their own whether they need to suspend serving cards issued by Russian banks or reject specific transactions for Mir cards owners,» the company said.

According to media reports, Halyk Bank stopped cash-out transactions for Mir in spring. In its response to Kursiv’s request, the bank said that its ATMs do not support transactions with Mir cards as well. «Currently, the only type of activity we do support is accepting payments through POS terminals,» Halyk Bank said.

Bank CenterCredit said that it accepts only those Mir cards that were issued by Russian banks free of sanctions. The bank also highlighted that it will immediately stop cooperation with the Mir payment system if it’s put on the SDN list.

On August 1, Sberbank Kazakhstan, a subsidiary of Russian Sber (now called Bereke Bank) started issuing Mir cards but stopped doing so on September 20.

«On September 1, we closed the deal with Sber. On September 14, the official registration of the new Bereke Bank was completed. After this happened we stopped issuing Mir cards because of rebranding,» the bank said while continuing to accept these cards as a payment tool.

Another Kazakhstani subsidiary of the Russian bank VTB has been accepting Mir cards since October 2018. According to the bank’s press service, it supports all types of transactions with the Russian Mir no matter what bank issued the card. There are no limits for cash-out transactions, although VTB clients have no choice and can withdraw their money from the bank’s ATMs only in Kazakhstan’s national currency tenge.

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