SWIFT in Russia under sanctions.

Mar, 05 2022

New financial restrictions of the European Union and the United States as disabling SWIFT will affect large Russian banks, such as: Sovcombank, VTB, Promsvyazbank, Otkritie, Novikombank, VEB, Russia. 

SWIFT is the largest international banking system uniting over 11,000 financial institutions in over 200 countries. Russia is in 5th place on the number of users. According to the Russian National SWIFT Association, about 300 Russian financial institutions use SWIFT. They provide more than 80 percent of the international payments of country. 

The ban on the use of the financial messaging system means that Russian banks can no longer use it – to make or receive transfers to foreign financial institutions. 

Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay are ending card services for these financial institutions. Also, making payments is impossible if the terminal or Internet site is serviced by a bank that has fallen under the sanctions. 

Transfer of funds abroad will be more expensive and more difficult. On practice, most likely banks will negotiate directly and open an account abroad. Or will use an alternative service – for example CIPS (China). 

Payments will not completely stop and this will not affect internal transfers. For further work inside country, banks will use SPFS – the system for transmitting financial messages of the Bank of Russia (alternative of SWIFT created in 2014). Already in 2020, transfers through SPFS were more than 20 percent of internal transactions, having almost doubled in one year. Today, the number of its users is 331 financial institutions, including banks from Cuba, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. 

Author of the article
SWIFT in Russia under sanctions.
Valentina Khlavich
Managing Partner
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