What Would You Do If You Couldn't Use Your ATM or CC? [Cash Only In Russia]

10/31/2008 11:01:00 AM

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480458aa94efe Via the Telegraph.co.uk , NY Times & The Moscow Times

Here's one of the downfalls of being the largest country in the world.  Russia has had to spend its reserves faster than anyone imagined.  In just under three months, Russia has gone through $116 billion falling from $600 billion to $484 billion.  This week alone showed a $31 billion fall, the steepest so far.

Many individuals in Russia are taking money out of non-state banks, just incase.......

In several parts of Moscow, some of Sberbank's ATMs, the largest state owned bank, recently appeared to have been reprogrammed to reject cash requests on cards issued by other banks.  Several ATMs in the SW refused to give cash advances on credit cards or allow withdrawals from two debit cards issued by three other banks, displaying a yellow message saying the bank no longer processed those cards.

An executive at Sberbank, who requested anonymity in line with bank policy, said he suspected that the issuing banks [non-state owned banks] might have taken measures to prevent withdrawals.  He said Sberbank had nothing to do with the restrictions.

Several electronics and mobile phone stores said they no longer accepted credit card purchases.

Over the weekend, Aeroflot, the biggest Russian airline, announced it had stopped taking credit card payments for flights except from a handful of banks.

Several Moscow city center restaurants are now refusing to accept cards.  At a restaurant a waitress said diners no needed to pay in cash.  "Over the past couple of weeks, we've had problems getting back payments made through credit cards from the banks."

The NY Times has stated that "If oil prices continue to fall, the rising expectations that Russians have had for the last several years - the most prosperous in generations - will be foiled.  Zero growth would pull the rug from under the hope for a middle-class life for millions, shrinking their horizons back to cramped apartments and garden plots."

Authorities are tiptoeing around the signs, and Russian state TV stations try to calm viewers with sketchy coverage.

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