February-2022 all of us remember for a long time. In the context of travel, it became a turning point, including for tourists with a Russian passport, bank account and card. The Visa and MasterCard payment systems have left Russia, which means that Russian cards are no more suitable for paying for something abroad (or abroad) than the Pyaterochka card.
The time has come to remember the very “useless” a piece of plastic that has been gathering dust in the wallet for more than one year – a card with the MIR payment system. She does work abroad, albeit with restrictions.
We tell you in which countries the Mir card works, how to organize cash withdrawals abroad – and how to generally keep your nerves of solvency outside of Russia.
This text is with a lot of personal experience. In March, we personally ran from ATM to ATM in Turkey and tried to force the World card work. Happened! We are publishing this article based on our experience and messages from compatriots from numerous forums and chats.
List of countries where World cards work in 2022 (+ Union Pay)
The reality is that travel routes are also limited and selection of those countries where the World Abroad card works in 2022.
Mir is a Russian payment system, one of the developments of “import substitution”. A card with the Chinese UnionPay payment system can also be a rescue. Tinkoff Bank, for example, quickly picked up the agenda and has already announced the imminent release of Mir-UnionPay co-badged cards. But a month or more has passed, and still no news.
The list of countries where the MIR card works abroad includes:
- Armenia – accept almost all ATMs, but not every store can pay
- Tajikistan – Amonatbonk ATMs and everything that works with local payment systems Korti Milli and Express Pay
- Belarus— without problems throughout the country
- Kazakhstan — ATMs of VTB, Sberbank, Halyk Bank, CenterCredit, but you won’t be able to pay for purchases with a card
- Kyrgyzstan< /strong> — at ATMs and outlets that support the local payment system Elkart
- Uzbekistan — at ATMs and outlets connected to the Uzbek payment system Uzcard
- South Ossetia — at ATMs of the National Bank of the Republic of South Ossetia
- Abkhazia — accepted almost everywhere
- Turkey — you can withdraw money from ATMs Ziraat, İşbank (Türkiye Bankası), VakifBank, which are on every corner, but to pay for purchases Mir does not work in cafe-shops
- UAE — despite being on the lists, Mir does NOT WORK in the Emirates; but sometimes co-badged Mir-UnionPay
- Cyprus — and Mir is also NOT ACCEPTED here, despite the “cooperation” with RCB Bank
- Vietnam – should accept BIDV and VRB ATMs, but in fact serves almost one ATM for the entire city/resort. A BIDV ATM, where you can certainly withdraw money in Nha Trang, is located near the Nha Trang Oceanus Apartment. Cashless payment by the World in retail outlets is not available; but Russian cards work well with UnionPay*
More about the “global” nuances in the most popular countries at the present time – Turkey, Armenia, etc. – we will tell below. The list of countries in which Russians can pay with a bank card is not as long as we would like. But thanks for them too.
*In general, UnionPay operates in 180 countries around the world. But since the SP on the Chinese map and the SP on the Russian one, it turns out, are different phenomena, in most countries Russian maps do not work. More details about cards and how to issue them will be in the section “Where can I open a UnionPay card?”.
Where can I open World cards?
You can apply for a Mir card at any Russian bank: Sberbank, Tinkoff Bank, Alfa-Bank, Levoberezhny, Raiffeisenbank , Promsvyazbank, Otkritie Bank, VTB. Each has its own rules for registration and cost, which can be found on the official websites of banks.
Important:in order to freely use the Mir card abroad, the bank issuing and servicing the card should not be under sanctions. However, judging by the reviews and messages in chats, Mir from the same VTB, Sberbank and Otkritie works abroad even now, and allows you to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Asterisk challenge while traveling abroad now — book a hotel or apartment and PAY for them. Russian cards on Booking are useless, on Airbnb too. We have already prepared and released a text where we have collected 10 services for finding housing – both inside Russia and abroad (some can even be paid with rejected Visa or MasterCard!).
MIR map in Armenia
Armenia is one of the inexpensive countries where you can relax/sit out the storm (underline as necessary). And one of the friendliest, where the Mir card operates.
According to the reviews of tourists, it is not difficult to find an ATM for withdrawing cash from the Mir card. Of these, for example, one can name Armeconombank and any other that supports the Armenian ArCa payment system. But you definitely need plastic, contactless payment and withdrawal via MirPay will not work.
Things are not so rosy with purchases. With the Mir card in Armenia, you can safely pay in Yandex.Taxi by linking it to your account and pay for purchases in large shopping centers. Outside shopping centers, the map becomes less of a faithful assistant. And the farther from Yerevan, the more likely you will need cash.
Sometimes street vendors even agree to sell their goods for rubles. But this is rare! It is more efficient to open an account with a local bank – Ameriabank, Evocabank or Inecobank.
How can I pay abroad now? Alternatives
What are the alternatives to the World?
As before, cash dollars and euros remain the correct and most reliable way. There are restrictions on the export of currency from Russia – you can take out no more than $10,000 per person. But you have enough to rest, right? By the way, they are watching for the restriction: when we flew to Turkey, at the airport we were asked to count dollars on the camera.
A working way to get rid of doubts “is the card serviced or not abroad” can be opening an account in the host country:
- This can be done in Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Turkey. Local Visas and Mastercards have weight in the outside world, unlike Russian ones.
- There are, of course, nuances – for example, a Turkish card does not pay for amounts over 500 liras on online services where there is no 3d secure (according to -simple, there is no confirmation of the operation via SMS). But in general, it is still many times more convenient than nothing.
- Plus, from a relative with a Russian card, you can transfer up to $10,000 per month to your foreign card via a swift transfer and withdraw cash dollars from ATMs or bank cash desks (which is impossible in Russia).
What yet? You can touch the world of cryptocurrencies and study the scheme of converting rubles into dollars through USDT and the Binance exchange. Or use the service Zolotaya Korona, where at the exchange rate you can convert rubles into dollars or local currency, send a transfer and receive cash on the spot at the branch. But now the Golden Crown allows you to withdraw money only in some countries – Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Vietnam, Greece, Egypt, Israel, etc.
Where can I open a Union Pay card?
You can apply for a UnionPay card in Russia at the following banks:
- Bank Saint Petersburg
- Post Bank (virtual card only) – our friends strongly DO NOT advise; does not work anywhere and gets blocked by the bank for one or two
These are banks that have not been sanctioned.
— Rosselkhozbank , Gazprombank, Promsvyazbank, RRDB — banks subject to sanctions. It follows that it will be problematic to pay for purchases abroad, ATMs “do not see” the card. But the same RSHB works fine in the UAE, although it converts rubles/dollars into dirhams at a crazy rate. In the near, but indefinite future, a UnionPay card can also be issued at Tinkoff Bank.
Chips of UnionPay cards, despite official statements, are not read everywhere. On the websites of airlines, a payment error may appear, in stores and foreign banks too. For example, only half of Italy's national banks can read UnionPay cards. And so everywhere. The exchange rate also fluctuates greatly from bank to bank, but all tourists agree on one thing: “The exchange rate is extortionate.”
The cost of issuing a UP card in Russian banks is changing and at the time of reading the article it can increase dramatically. For example, today the issue and annual maintenance of a UnionPay card at Bank Saint Petersburg costs 5,000 rubles + a commission of 10,000 rubles. You can easily navigate the cost of the card using the table below.
Where to order/issue a Mir card in Russia (banks without sanctions):
|Bank Saint Petersburg||Maintenance and issue 500 rubles||Annual maintenance 5,000 rubles + issue fee 10,000 rubles|
|Solidarity||Free of charge||Registration is free, maintenance is on average 99 rubles per month||Primsotsbank||Service from 60 rubles per month||Issue 5000 rubles + service 500 rubles per month|
|Primorye||Service up to 1188 rubles per year . At the moment, debit cards are not issued, but everything can change||Issue and annual service 1,800 rubles + 150 rubles per month|
|ZENIT||Maintenance 300 rubles per year, issue free||Platinum privilege card issue – 1,200 rubles + 299 rubles per month for maintenance|
|Tinkoff||Issue free, maintenance up to 99 rubles per billing period||Not yet|
Note: check, try and look for different ATMs. Many tourists and expats are faced with the fact that one ATM, say Ziraat Bank, can issue money in local currency to the owner of the Mir card, while the other card will not even be read. Don't despair and look for another ATM.