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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  • 1 Post By liammons
  • 4 Post By moggy 1968

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  #1  
Old 21 Mar 2014
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Russia, Sanctions, Credit Cards & ATMs

With the EU and the US initiating sanctions against Russia, arising from the developments in Ukraine and Crimea, we are seeing an impact on our access to funds as we cross Russia.

Mastercard and Visa have withdrawn all services from Russia so we can forget any hope of using credit cards in the country. Similarly, ATM cards are unlikely to be supported, although it has been suggested that we may still be able to get funds from a Citi Bank ATM (don't want to gamble on that possibility though).

Looks like we're going to have to carry sufficient cash to get us through Russia!
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  #2  
Old 21 Mar 2014
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Credit Cards

The main question are the credit cards blocked for Russians citizens or everyone who want to make payment on Russian territory???
We will go to Turkmenistan and Iran in April/May and we will go throught Russia.
During my last trips in 2012 and 2013 I had no problems with ATM's and credit cards.

Do anybody know more about this problem??

Bartosz
[url=http://www.wyprawy4x4.com.pl]Wyprawy 4
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  #3  
Old 21 Mar 2014
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Are you sure its all services?

From what I can gather, its only related to certain banks, not across the board, such as Rossiya Bank because they are allegedly associated to Putin, or his close associates.

I think it is more of a attempt to prevent Russian customers from accessing their funds, especially overseas.

To be honest, it would be interesting to hear from someone actually in Russia what the situation really is, not what Western media are telling us.

Last edited by liammons; 22 Mar 2014 at 22:33. Reason: to keep everyone happy!
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Old 22 Mar 2014
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The information that we were given from a bank was that we would not be able to use our cards at a Russian bank but that 'Citi Russia' should be able to take our cards.

Whatever situation existed in 2012, 2013, or two weeks ago is no longer relevant, as mastercard and visa only just withdrew services as part of the sanctions.

Hopefully the situation will be clarified in the next week or so but, in the meantime, I'd suggest that travellers prepare for the possibility that no cards will be accepted in Russia.
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  #5  
Old 22 Mar 2014
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This BBC news story suggests that 99%v of visa services in Russia are unaffected by the sanctions. BBC News - Visa and MasterCard block Russian bank customers

However, these latest restrictions occurred without any warning, so it is entirely possible that the restrictions could expand beyond the banks that are currently affected. Worth watching developments!
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  #6  
Old 22 Mar 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liammons View Post
Apologies if this post offends anyone as being overtly 'political', its not meant to be; what I'm hoping to do is stimulate a bit of interest from those currently in Russia or with better connections, to see if problems are being encountered by travelers.
Yes, this thread was obviously started with the intent of helping travellers sort out potential issues accessing cash, so thanks for turning it into your political soapbox.

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Old 22 Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
Yes, this thread was obviously started with the intent of helping travellers sort out potential issues accessing cash, so thanks for turning it into your political soapbox.
Lets all avoid the topic of who is right or wrong, and keep on the topic of
who is affected and how. The why doesn't really matter becuase there is nothing any of us can do about it.
Discussing it here will just make it harder to find the facts travelers need!
We can start a new thread on the topic of who did what wrong and why on the HUBB Pub, where anything goes.
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Old 22 Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by Bermuda Rover View Post
The information that we were given from a bank was that we would not be able to use our cards at a Russian bank but that 'Citi Russia' should be able to take our cards.

Whatever situation existed in 2012, 2013, or two weeks ago is no longer relevant, as mastercard and visa only just withdrew services as part of the sanctions.

Hopefully the situation will be clarified in the next week or so but, in the meantime, I'd suggest that travellers prepare for the possibility that no cards will be accepted in Russia.

I agree with you Rover, however I doubt the situation will be clarified that quickly, I think if I was planning a long Russian transit this year I would ensure that I had sufficient cash in hand to get out across the border if a total sanction on VISA/Mastercard transactions occurred suddenly, however likely/unlikely it may be.

Recently in Ireland one of the major banks ceased issuing any funds for about a day to customers and it was amazing how many people got caught out who were 50 miles from home not 5000 miles. It actually shocked me personally how many people are clearly totally dependent on electronic banking systems and just take it for granted how they will never 'let you down'.

I wouldn't go anywhere without access to a bit of 'real currency' for an emergency.

Hopefully the above is sufficiently apolitical so as not to offend (I have also edited my first post for the same reason)
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Old 23 Mar 2014
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I have always advocated carrying a significant amount of cash (euro is king in the eastern Europe area) and using that rather than cards. I then spread it around myself and my truck, keeping a little bit for 'mugging money' (a habit from living in central manchester for several years! Enough to keep them happy so you don't get filled in, but not so much it's a disaster) and also my 'police fines' money in a different pocket(usually no more than 20e)

Although this was seen as being a technical ludite in another thread by some who feel nothing more than a couple of credit cards and a pair of pants are needed to travel, cash talks. You can always change cash, many places will even let you pay in euros in an emergency, although the rate will be crap and, apart from sudden unexpected problems like this the reality is, the more you use your card, the more likely you are to end up being a victim of card fraud (I had someone try to withdraw £700 on my card in Russia 6 months or so after leaving the Ukraine, fortunately the bank rang me before clearing the transaction).

My personal advice would always be, withdraw cash from a bank (after checking the machine carefully) and then use cash to pay for hotels, fuel etc, always. Keep the card for emergencies. Garages especially are notorious for stealing card details (it even happened in the UK shortly after chip and pin was introduced)

You can probably get a good rate in country if you have euros because everyone will be wanting to have their money in a relatively stable currency
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Old 23 Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by moggy 1968 View Post
'mugging money' 'police fines' money


And there was me thinking i was alone on doing this also.

"Police fines" money i love this one, when i get stopped for a traffic offence or somethink eles i am in the wrong for and say "can i pay a fine" with a smile

Last edited by WesleyDRZ400; 23 Mar 2014 at 05:04.
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  #11  
Old 23 Mar 2014
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The sanctioned banks have a minuscule portion of the market and I'd be surprised if many westerners were affected while travelling through Russia--you'd have to search long and hard for one of the bank's ATMs, and anyway one of the banks said that it's ATMs work fine (within Russia).

I would probably slightly increase my carried cash but certainly not plan to bring all required cash with me, which I view as significantly more risky. As usual, the best thing to do is to bring a couple of different cards with you, so that if you have a problem with one, another should work.

Of course this could change if wider sanctions are imposed.
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  #12  
Old 23 Mar 2014
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This link might help. It seems visitors will not be affected ...... so far.
Hoping for Magadan and back starting at the end of April would need a shed load of cash if ATMs not working.

Boycie



Russian Banks Face Problems With Visa, MasterCard on U.S. Sanctions - WSJ.com
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