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Apple Pay closes the loophole that allowed Russian users to pay with Mir cards

Apple Pay closes the loophole that allowed Russian users to pay with Mir cards

Apple Pay will no longer support Russian card payment system Mir, according to a Reuters report, closing a loophole that allows Russians to continue using the service amid economic sanctions imposed on the country.

"Apple has informed the NSPK [Russia's national payment card system] that it is suspending support for the 'Mir' card in the payments service Apple Pay," a translated announcement on Mir's site read. "Since March 24, uploading of new 'Mir' cards is unavailable in the service." The company also notes that the Mir cards previously added to Apple Pay will stop working "in the next few days." Apple Pay first added support for Mir cards last year.

According to The Guardian, Mir is owned by the Central Bank of Russia and was established in response to the economic sanctions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Central bank figures say that Mir cards make up about 32 percent of all new cards. issued in the country.

According to the WSJ report, Google is also taking steps to break ties with Mir. The company reportedly halted a pilot program -- which began last October -- that lets users link their Mir cards to Google Pay. "Google Pay is stopping payment-related services in Russia as a result of disruptions to payment services beyond our control," a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the WSJ.

The Verge reached out to Google and Apple with a request for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

Many Russian users have been cut off from Apple Pay and Google Pay after several countries imposed financial sanctions on major Russian banks including VTB Group, Sovcombank, Novicombank, Promsvazbank and Otkrity FC Bank. Earlier this month, Visa and Mastercard suspended their operations in Russia, barring Russians from using their credit or debit cards outside the country or for international online payments.

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