Russian, Turkish Banks In Talks To Allow Russians Access To Turkiye’s Troy Payment Card System

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In light of the United States threatening Turkish banks with sanctions and SWIFT disconnection if they continued to operate Russian MIR payment cards for Russians visiting Turkiye, Ankara has been discussing a solution. 

MIR cards could previously be used to make payments and withdraw money from the ATMs of five Turkish banks prior to September 2022, when Russian tourists vacationing in Turkey began to have difficulties using the cards following Turkish banks withdrawing under US pressure. Private banks IsBank and DenizBank were later the first to announce that they would no longer be working with the Russian payment system, and three public banks, Ziraat Bankasi, VakifBank, and Halkbank, joined them on September 27, meaning that there are no longer any banks in Turkey that will accept Russian MIR cards, meaning that Russian tourists cannot make payments while in Turkiye.

Ankara has proposed using its Troy national payment system in place of MIR cards, and it is understood that the Central banks of Russia and Turkiye are discussing the issue.

Representatives of the Turkish tourism industry have also proposed launching a system of prepaid cards for Russian tourists that would work during their time in the country. Russians could pay for such cards in rubles in Russia along with their tour packages and then use them to pay for goods and services. Turkiye is a major holiday destination for Russians with the winter season a huge boost to Turkiye’s tourism sector.

Troy is Turkey’s national payment system, which has been operating since 2016. More than 12 million Troy cards were in circulation as of March 2022.

Should the United States threaten Turkiye with sanctions for using its own sovereign payment card system, this would create a new era of the reach of sanctions and possibly destroy the use of SWIFT as a global payment gateway.

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