Russian banks, including VTB, Gazprombank, Promsvyazbank, Alfa Bank, MTS, and Rosbank, are reportedly planning to ditch MasterCard and Visa, while embracing China UnionPay for the credit card issuance.

The move by Russian banks is being seen as an attempt to thwart the payment processing problem emerging from EU and US sanctions for Russia’s alleged involvement in Crimea.

China UnionPay is considering issuing approximately two million cards in Russia over next three years.

Despite being a late enterent in the Russian market in 2002, China UnionPay has quickly expanded its presence in the country.

According to, VTB24’s press office said in a statement: "VTB24 already serves China UnionPay cards in its ATM network and now the bank is in negotiations with this payment system to start acquiring retail merchants."