Technology giants Apple and Google have closed a loophole that allowed Russians to continue using their respective mobile wallets even after the firms restricted their service in the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
Apple, which launched Apple Pay in Russia in 2016, suspended its service for the Russian payment system MIR, reported Reuters.
The company restricted its service in the country at the beginning of this month, shortly after Russia began its military aggression in Ukraine.
Although it prevented Russian Mastercard and Visa cardholders from using Apple Pay, Apple’s existing tie-up with MIR allowed some users to continue using the service.
The latest move will block MIR cards users in Russia from continuing the use of Apple Pay services.
MIR, operated by Russian national payment company National Payment Card System (NSPK), was launched in 2015.
NSPK said in a statement: “Apple informed NSPK that it is suspending support for Mir cards in the Apple Pay payment service. Since March 24, loading new Mir cards into the service has become unavailable. Previously loaded cards will be stopped by Apple over the next few days.”
Google also cut its ties with MIR in a similar move, reported WSJ citing a person privy to the development.
According to the source, the company is suspending a pilot programme that enables Google Pay users in Russia to use MIR cards.
Google Pay service were disrupted after US payment giants Visa, Amex and Mastercard halted their service in Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis.
A spokeswoman for Google told the publication: “Google Pay is pausing payments-related services in Russia as a result of payment services disruption out of our control.”
Earlier this month, Ukraine’s central bank urged the apex banks of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Vietnam to stop servicing MIR cards in their ATM and POS networks.