Since March 10, the international payment systems Visa and Mastercard have stopped working in Russia due to the so-called special operation in Ukraine.

Cards for these systems are issued by Russian banks and will be used in Russia as usual, but Russians will not be able to pay abroad and at foreign online stores, including through ApplePay and GooglePay services.

What are the alternatives? Cryptocurrencies are great, they have no borders and are not subject to any government influence. However, they are not yet accepted by the general public, most people don't understand and fear them, and the giants of the digital industry are only trying.

The country has its own payment system "MIR" and its cards are valid in the Russian Federation and in a few countries: UAE, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan.

What is left for the Russians? The Chinese payment system UnionPay and MIR- UnionPay co-branded cards can solve some of the problems that have arisen.

China Payment System UnionPay was established in 2002 under the auspices of China's central bank. Its main advantage is its popularity. China has agreements with 180 countries around the world and Chinese citizens can easily travel abroad and use Chinese bank cards. In addition, UnionPay is applicable to all world currencies.

Russians are not very familiar with UnionPay, mainly because Visa and MasterCard completely satisfy their needs without the need to consider alternative systems. Now, using UnionPay seems to be the only more or less convenient way to get rid of this situation.

According to the UnionPay website, there are currently 11 Russian banks that issue cards based on the Chinese payment system. They include Rosselkhozbank, Gazprombank, Vostochny, Solidarity, Bank St. Petersburg, Promsvyazbank, VBRR, Primsotsbank, CB Primorye, Zenit and Post Bank.

In addition, there is the MIR-UnionPay co-branded card. This is a joint card of two payment systems: the Russian "MIR" and the Chinese UnionPay. In case one of them is supported, the other one works, and vice versa.

This seems to be a good solution, but nothing can be done without the drawbacks.

First of all, most Russian banks charge a fee for opening a UnionPay card. For example, Rosselkhozbank will issue you a UnionPay card for 7,500 rubles, Solidarity – for 1,500 rubles.

Secondly, there is no guarantee that the Bank of Russia "MIR" – UnionPay co-branded cards will be accepted in foreign outlets and ATMs.

In general, UnionPay cards are useful at least for cash withdrawals you make abroad, as it is now forbidden to take out more than $10,000 from the country. In addition, they can be used to subscribe to installed applications from GooglePay.

Where is the best place to buy cryptocurrency? TOP-5 Exchanges

For safe and convenient purchase of cryptocurrencies with minimal commissions, we have prepared ratings of the most reliable and popular cryptocurrency exchanges that support deposits and withdrawals in rubles, hryvnia, dollars and euros.

The reliability of the site depends mainly on the volume of transactions and the number of users. The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world in terms of all key indicators is Cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is also the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in Russia and CIS, as it has the largest turnover of funds and supports ruble transfers from Visa / MasterCard bank cards and QIWI, Advcash, Payeer payment systems.

Especially for beginners, we have prepared a detailed guide: How to buy bitcoins for rubles on cryptocurrency exchanges?

Cryptocurrency Exchange Ratings.

Criteria for setting ratings in our ratings of cryptocurrency exchanges.

  • Reliability of work – stability of access to all functions of the platform, including uninterrupted trading, access to funds, as well as the duration of work on the market and the daily volume of transactions.
  • Commission – the amount of commission for trading operations and asset withdrawals within the site.
  • Additional features and services – futures, options, pledges, NFT markets.
  • Reviews and Support – We analyze the quality of user reviews and technical support efforts.
  • User-friendliness of the interface – We evaluate the functionality and intuitiveness of the interface, as well as the potential for errors and glitches when working with the exchange.
  • The final score – the average score of all indicators – determines the ranking position.

Russia