Apple Pay has arrived in a new country, with Apple’s mobile payment service launching in Russia on Tuesday — although right now it’s only available with one bank and card.
“Sberbank clients – MasterCard cardholders – can now use Apple Pay, which will allow them to make contactless payments online safely and comfortably,” a press release from Sberbank of Russia, which is the largest bank in Russia and Eastern Europe, stated.
Alexander Torbakhov, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank, added that, “Apple Pay is driving the popularization of contactless payments in Russia and globally. Many of Sberbank clients actively use new technologies, and an increasing number of them will prefer cash-free and contactless payment using their smartphones.”
By arriving in Russia, it officially brings the number of countries to adopt Apple Pay into double figures, with this being the tenth market.
Apple has had something of a tough time in Russia in recent years. Its LGBT-friendly emojis have raised the ire of politicians, as did Apple’s giveaway of the U2 Songs of Innocence album — which led to Russian politician Alexander Starovoitov accusing Apple of distributing gay pornography.
After Tim Cook came out as gay, Russian politicians also not only argued that he should be banned from the country, while a fault with the Russian version of Siri (possibly the result of Apple handing over work to a third-party Russian programmer) resulted in the AI assistant issuing homophobic responses to questions about LGBT issues.
More recently, Apple came under investigation by Russia’s federal Anti-Monopoly Service for allegedly colluding with resellers to fix the price on its iPhones .
Source: Tass and Apple