What you need to know
- Alfa-Bank is warning customers that Russian cards will stop working on the App Store tomorrow.
- It comes as sanctions and economic pressure continue to wreak havoc on Russia.
- The bank says customers will have to choose either pre-depositing money or using a phone number.
Russian cards are going to stop working with Apple's App Store from Thursday, leaving customers with the choice of only pre-depositing money or paying with a phone number.
Russia's Alfa-Bank, the largest private bank in the country, warned customers Wednesday stating "Tomorrow in the App Store will stop paying by Russian cards." (Translated)
Alfa-Bank says customers only have two options. Either, they can deposit money on their Apple ID through the App Store before the change takes place, or they can change their payment method to a mobile phone, which Alfa-Bank says will still work according to the information it has received.
iMore has reached out to Apple for confirmation of this, and will update the story accordingly. At the time of publication, Apple had not responded. It is not clear from Alfa-Bank's announcement whether this change is directed at Russian Cards specifically or users in Russia. As such, it is also unclear whether Russian cardholders outside of Russia may also be affected, or if cards from other banks may work. Although, given sanctions, the latter is highly unlikely.
As Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, sanctions and economic pressure continue to wreak havoc in the country. Apple announced last week that it was stopping sales in the country, however, some third-party resellers including its premium partner re:Store are still trying to operate. Many have increased their prices by 50% in real terms to keep up with inflation and the price of the ruble, which is tumbling against the dollar.
At its March Apple event on Tuesday, Tim Cook gave a subtle nod in support of Ukraine by wearing blue and yellow as he presented, no doubt a choreographed move on Apple's part. Apple is also donating to humanitarian causes on the ground in Ukraine.