Press Release: Russians no longer able to empty Nosto ATMs at Finland’s eastern border
Nosto ATMs have reached an agreement with the payment aquirer and China UnionPay that the use of China UnionPay cards in Nosto ATMs will be suspended as of Monday 3 October. In recent weeks, Russians have been emptying Nosto ATMs at Finland’s eastern border and especially in south-eastern Finland, sometimes in a matter of hours. Previously, the ATMs contained enough banknotes to last a full day. At the same time, some non-sanctioned international cards have been used to withdraw up to tens of thousands of euros.
“Previously, as an ATM operator, we had no means to prevent cash withdrawals made with non-sanctioned China UnionPay cards without violating international agreements. Now the negotiations conducted in Norway have borne fruit. The primary purpose of the ATMs in Finland is to cater for the cash needs of the people living in this country”, says Risto Lepo, Country Manager of Nosto ATMs Finland.
The number of withdrawals made with non-sanctioned China UnionPay cards, as well as the euro amounts withdrawn, have increased several hundred times in recent weeks compared to the year before.
“Our money supply and resources have simply not been able to keep up with such massive hoarding of cash. At worst, the amounts of cash withdrawn have been so large that there is no way that they relate to purchases made by private Russian tourists in Finland,” Lepo says.
The export of cash to Russia is sanctioned by the EU. It has also meant extra work for the border authorities, since the Customs is responsible for controlling the movement of cash across the border.
“Our core mission is to provide cash to help people living in Finland on a day-to-day basis. The current situation has limited access to cash for people domiciled in eastern Finland in a global context in which the importance of cash as a means of payment is constantly growing”, Lepo continues.
Putting an end to the acute problem
The number of withdrawals at Finland’s eastern border began to rise sharply when Russia opened its eastern border in mid-July to tourists for shopping in the EU. Over the past few weeks, the situation has become critical.
“The past few weeks have been really frustrating for us. We want to comply with the regulations and international agreements. But we do not want to support any illegal activity in any form. Our own business has suffered too. Logistically, when the ATMs need to be replenished more frequently, we incur extra cost and experience a shortage of resources to serve Finnish people as effectively as we would like to”, Lepo says.
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