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Russian Tourists now have an alternative to Visa and MasterCard

MIR Card

VISA, Master Card, and American Express are out for Russian tourists due to the sanction imposed by many countries in response see to the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The next best solution for Russian travelers is to get a MIR card.

Mir is a Russian payment system for electronic fund transfers established by the Central Bank of Russia under a law adopted on 1 May 2017. The system is operated by the Russian National Card Payment System, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Russia.

Russian Visa and Master Cards will still work until their expiration date. After that cardholders in Russia will see a MIR replacement card.

Bahrain intends to introduce the Russian payment system “Mir” in the near future for the convenience of tourists. This was announced by the Ambassador of the Kingdom to the Russian Federation Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Saaiti during a meeting with the head of Bashkiria Radiy Khabirov at the ongoing St. Petersburg International Economic Forum SPIEF-2022.

In return, Russia is interested in cooperation with Bahrain in all areas.

Egypt is also working on the launch of the Mir card acceptance project. A large number of Russian tourists visit Egypt constantly.

Russian tourists can still travel to many countries around the world.

Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, as well as Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two territories that have been controlled by Russia since the Russo-Georgian war in 2008 already accept the MIR card.

Three major Turkish banks — Ziraat Bankası, Vakıfbank, and Iş Bankası — indeed process transactions with MIR cards, making cash withdrawals possible from their numerous ATMs at a favorable exchange rate. Many retailers in Turkey don’t show the MIR acceptance sign but are still accepting the card, sometimes even unknowingly.

In 2019 MIR cards started to be accepted in Cyprus, a European Member country. This resulted in an increase in Russian tourists to Cyprus. Apparently, this was discontinued after pressure from Brussels.

Thailand is currently in talks with Russia to set up MIR as a payment system for Russian tourists to the kingdom.

About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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