By Mikey Campbell
Monday, October 03, 2016, 11:06 pm PT (02:06 am ET)
Russia became the latest major market to gain access to Apple Pay on Tuesday, with iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad owners in the region now able to use the service at participating retailers.
Announced through Apple's regional website, Apple Pay is being introduced to the Russian market through partners Mastercard and Moscow-based Sberbank. Plans for expansion are not mentioned, though Apple typically extends access to a variety of credit card operators and multiple local financial institutions in the weeks and months following an initial availability.
At launch, participating retailers include ATAK, Auchan, Azbuka Vkusa, bp, Magnit, Media Markt, M.Video, TsUM and authorized Apple reseller re:Store, while electronics store Eldorado and Burger King are listed as coming soon. Reuters also reported on today's launch.
The service activation is the latest development in Apple Pay's measured international rollout. In June, Apple added backend integration with Canada's BMO, TD and Scotiabank, bringing the country's "big five" banking institutions into the fold. A week earlier, Apple Pay gained support from five major banks in Singapore.
Apple Pay was introduced to U.S. consumers in 2014 as part of iOS 8, later expanding to Australia, Canada, China and the UK.
As the service gains momentum in Apple's domestic market, the company is focusing future growth efforts in major markets in Asia and Europe. According to Apple Pay chief Jennifer Bailey, Apple plans to bring Apple Pay to every major market in which Apple products are sold.
After launching domestically in 2014, Apple Pay has expanded to cover nine markets including Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K.