Traveling to Russia? Here’s the Prepaid Credit Card for International Tourists

Foreign tourists planning a trip to Russia may currently face challenges that complicate making settlements. Visa and Mastercard, the most popular payment systems, have become unavailable for payers in the Russian Federation following the imposed sanctions. Bringing real money with you is a readily-available option, but it is far from being the most profitable or convenient one. 

Anonymous map for tourists

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How do Russian nationals and foreign tourists get a UnionPay prepaid card remotely? Well, take a look at our offer, which will help you resolve financial issues quickly, safely, and on an absolutely legal basis!

A UnionPay Card: What Is It?

Do you know anything about UnionPay? Well, this Chinese government-sponsored payment system was established in 2005 and has become a good substitute for Visa and Mastercard as the latter have left the Russian market. However, some banks in the Russian Federation offer a co-branded bank card combining two payment systems, UnionPay and Mir. 

UnionPay assumes the actual role of an association of Chinese credit card industry players, and it works under the authorization of the People’s Bank of China (PBC, Central Bank of China). The payment system is spread globally and comprises, among other features, the Electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS). 

Today, ordering UnionPay cards is available in 180 states and territories worldwide. As regards popularity among foreign tourists, Chinese plastic cards have overtaken Visa and Mastercard. 

Research shows that UnionPay took first place in November-December 2021 by the quantity of cards circulating globally, reaching the mark of 9.4 billion. In comparison, Visa served 3.7 billion customers, and Mastercard – 2.5 billion customers during the same period. In 2022, these figures only increased. 

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In addition to the Chinese payment system, you can legally order an anonymous prepaid card from other suppliers by studying our offers and relying on the help of experienced world-class experts.

UnionPay Prepaid Credit and Debit Card Types

There exist several card types offered by the Chinese UnionPay system, and each of them can be of interest to international and Russian tourists, entrepreneurs or emigrants wishing to solve specific payment problems. For example, they can get a virtual card that may be used to purchase goods and services via the Internet and for contactless payments. An anonymous debit card can become a useful payment tool for businesses and travelers. Moreover, a loan could even be granted to you in case of urgency. 

1. UnionPay Prepaid Anonymous Card

With this card, you can rest assured that you remain invisible to the seller and other people that may want to control your spending (such as relatives or ex spouses). A prepaid anonymous card is typically issued in two variations, although this may differ from bank to bank:

  • A debit card suitable for settlements within Russia and abroad with a replenished balance. It is compatible with most ATMs for withdrawing currency, and it is a convenient means of contactless payments, among other things. 
  • A credit anonymous card is offered by some banks and electronic financial platforms: to guarantee anonymity, the issuing authority establishes a limit on your account and hides the cardholder’s name from third persons. Get this type of card and carry out any type of financial transaction, operating it in a way similar to a debit card, except that it will have a limited amount of money and an increased commission. 

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Note: No Russian banks issue anonymous UnionPay cards. You can only get this product in non-Russian financial institutions by sending a relevant request to our experts using the contacts indicated on the portal. 

2. UnionPay Personalized Prepaid Card

Here we are talking about a non-anonymous version of a debit (credit) card produced by a Chinese financial service provider. A personalized option is the most common payment method for tourists allowing for settlements within Russia and abroad. 

Product distinctive features:

  • UnionPay debit and credit prepaid cards are widely accepted for payment: you can make settlements in more than 170 countries worldwide, Russia included
  • you can legally withdraw money from your card at any ATM
  • international and intra-country transfers are permitted, including those sent to Visa and Mastercard
  • Banks in Russia present the card as an independent UnionPay product made jointly with MIR, the local payment system

A prepaid card has one downside: it is not anonymous as all transactions involving cards issued by Russian organizations and certain foreign states can be tracked by the tax authorities or the regulator. 

3. UnionPay – Mir Co-Branded Card 

The combined plastic card option is quite popular among Russian residents, but it is currently impossible to buy goods or services via the Internet on foreign websites using this payment method. The host party recognizes the UnionPay – Mir joint product as a Russian one and refuses to accept the payment. However, you will not encounter any such problems if the issuer of this card product is a foreign bank. 

Note: It is currently impossible to use a UnionPay – Mir co-branded bank card to send funds to Europe by card number or transfer a sum to a plastic card produced by Russian banks. Any alternative options? Well, obtain a UnionPay card from a foreign financial provider to broaden the range of opportunities connected with transactions and cashing funds overseas and in Russia. 

If you are a tourist, make settlements with the card conveniently in any territory that belongs to the UnionPay community: 180 of them are declared, and 157 jurisdictions are displayed on the official portal. However, the current geopolitical events brought about some shortcomings that should be kept in mind. In particular, consolidation with the MIR, the Russian payment system, resulted in frequent refusals of foreign terminals, ATMs, financial institutions, and even stores to deal with such plastic cards despite the fact that they originate from a China-based payment system. 

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Tip: If you are a foreign tourist traveling across the globe, Russia included, you’d better order a UnionPay card at a foreign service provider’s institution.

Where a Chinese Prepaid Credit or Debit Card Works

Following the impressive Chinese tourism growth, UnionPay seriously took on expanding its customer and partner network geography. Hong Kong and US financial establishments occupied first positions on the list of partner banking institutions. Next, the local payment system has gained worldwide recognition and established offshore links with European and Asian banks.

In 2012, UnionPay founded an overseas division of UnionPay International and established partnerships with more than 2,500 financial institutions across the globe. To date, UnionPay prepaid debit and credit cards produced by foreign banks operate in 180 states, Russia included. 

Operations available for tourists and business foreigners who own a UnionPay card:

  • Payment for goods and services in stores
  • Cash withdrawal at ATMs
  • Transfers between accounts and cards
  • Accepting payments from foreign countries

In 2022, UnionPay works in a wide range of countries, including the USA, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, etc. 

Why do Western Tourists Traveling to Russia Need a UnionPay Card?

We would like to remind you that Western countries have imposed sanctions on Visa and MasterCard card products, which results in them being NON-SERVICED in Russia. This may bring about serious problems for tourists and students staying in the territory of the Russian Federation. 

If your Visa or Mastercard card was issued by a foreign bank, the functions below will be blocked:

  • sending money to accounts registered in Russia
  • receiving the money sent by your relatives from foreign countries
  • paying for items you buy in Russian stores
  • withdrawing cash

If you want to unblock them all, order a UnionPay payment system card BEFORE YOUR TRIP. The Chinese product currently remains the only international channel for financial transactions within Russia and between Russia and EU countries.

How to Pay Using a UnionPay Card in Russia

Foreign tourists who stay in Russia during vacations or business trips will find it useful to know how to make settlements using foreign UnionPay cards in Russia.

Today, the quantity of operations is practically unlimited – in fact, foreign travelers are entitled to:

  • make withdrawals from ATMs of non-sanctioned Russian banks that support work with UnionPay
  • send money to relatives or friends in Western countries
  • receive financial income from relatives or friends living in ‘unfriendly countries’ to the UnionPay card account
  • make payments for products in stores
  • pay for plane or train tickets
  • use it to acquire Moscow metro tickets or tokens
  • buy items on foreign websites, etc.
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In August 2022, China’s UnionPay payment system restricted partner relations with Russian acquiring banks following the Western sanctions imposed on them. To date, servicing UnionPay cards in foreign POS terminals of sanctioned Russian banks is banned. However, there is an alternative that is suitable for foreign tourists in the Russian Federation: payment via WeChat.

Why Foreign Banks Do Not Issue UnionPay

Many Russians and even foreign tourists get turned down if they order a prepaid anonymous, personal, virtual, debit or credit card to be issued by a Chinese service provider.

This may happen for the following reasons: 

  • Western sanctions and enhanced client verification, which is determined by the servicing bank and applies to clients from the Russian Federation, as well as the Republic of Belarus
  • The applicant is inexperienced and simply does not know how to choose a bank or country correctly and how to apply in order to obtain a prepaid card from a UnionPay Chinese payment system
  • Errors in documents that must be filed with the bank for the applicant to be considered. When you apply to foreign financial institutions, you will be required to fill out a form in the language of the country in which you apply, and the documents are subject to legalization. 
  • Trustworthiness and imprudence. Sometimes you may come across fraudsters who offer anonymous prepaid cards without applicant verification and gladly accept money from the victim. As a result, you lose your time and money. 
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Note: A prepaid debit card is suitable for current payments and storing small amounts of money for some time. If you need to get strong protection of your assets, diversify capital, or hide it from relatives and creditors, we advise you to open a foreign account for personal or corporate purposes.

How to Get a UnionPay Card Remotely If You Are a Foreign Tourist

To avoid tough situations when traveling in Russia or abroad, we advise all tourists to pre-issue a UnionPay debit/credit card by contacting our specialists. Of course, you can do everything by yourself. However, our experience shows that independent applications are turned down in 95% of cases. 

To use our services, just contact our experts (+372 5 489 53 37, +381 6911 12327) or leave your data online to a consultant to get in touch with you.

We work on a prepaid basis and accept all types of currencies, including Bitcoin payments, and guarantee confidentiality and compliance with all legal regulations. 

Does a foreign UnionPay card operate in Russia?

Yes, it does. Money withdrawals from it are possible in banks that are not on the sanctions list. You can also transfer money abroad, receive incoming transfers, buy in many retail outlets or even get metro tickets or tokens in Moscow.

What is the best way for foreign tourists to make settlements in Russia?

You can choose cash or a card. In the latter case, you can make use of the cards issued by Russian banks or ‘friendly countries’, as well as UnionPay. UnionPay cards issued by non-Russian banks do not work everywhere in Russia, while local ones (UnionPay – MIR cards) function in any ATMs and POS terminals.

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