To Uzbekistan to get plastic card: will ‘card tours’ be popular from Russians?

A foreign Visa card is the main attraction instead of a Pfizer shot

To Uzbekistan to get plastic card: will ‘card tours’ be popular from Russians?
Photo: Maxim Platonov

The economy of impressions is creating new formats amid sanctions. An offer of a trip to get a card following vaccine tours is tour operators’ new creative step. When Visa and Mastercard aren’t operating abroad, tourists are offered to travel abroad and get foreign passports with their assistance. And see the world, moreover, those countries that are usually not in the top. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Suitcase — station — credit card

Our compatriots who turned out to be abroad are now thinking how to pay for accommodation, food, flights. People who paid for many services — from cloud services to music platforms — are also out in the cold. Visa and Mastercard left Russia, their cards issued here can be used only inside the country. Mir and Union Pay cards (several banks who have this Chinese systems have drivel the cost of services up) operate in some states, however, the companies’ possibilities of issuing them are limited.

Only those who managed to buy it before the ban on the purchase of a foreign currency before September 2022 could take cash abroad. Somebody is examining how cryptocurrency exchange or Zolotaya Korona networks work. Of course, there is a black currency market, and couriers are ready to take the money through the border, while the darknet offers services of applying for a card on behalf of a foreigner a Russian will be using. But we will leave all these methods outside the article.

We will tell you what solution to the problem tour operators have come up with. They have started to sell trips to Uzbekistan. In this country, a traveller goes through mandatory registration at a place of residence and fills in an application to get a card. The programme includes transfer, accommodation, excursions. Also, it has services of a firm’s representative in the bank, preliminary preparation of documents, courier service and medical insurance.

In Uzbekistan, the cards can be obtained in the banks Capital Bank, NBU, Asaka Bank or Ipak Yoli Bank. Photo:

The service costs from 23,000 rubles. Plane tickets are paid additionally, people are offered to buy them themselves or rely on the company. In Uzbekistan, the cards can be obtained in the banks Capital Bank, NBU, Asaka Bank or Ipak Yoli Bank. Money is deposited either immediately or from Russia through the system Zolotaya Korona or through SWIFT payments but from other countries. Moreover, now any amount of foreign currency can be brought to Uzbekistan, but the sum above $6,000 or its equivalent must be declared. It is planned to transfer money to the card through Sberbank Online. The duration period if 3 years.

Such cards operate everywhere besides the traveller’s country, which is Russia. Except for Uzbekistan, analogous “card” tours are prepared to Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and probably Turkey. However, each country has its own terms to open an account.

Moreover, there has already appeared a service in the Net when a virtual card is created and there is no need to travel. For instance, such a card is made in Kazakhstan. The service costs 15,000 rubles. A virtual card can be used for payment on the Internet or electronic wallet. Also, a real plastic card with delivery to Russia can be ordered.

The identification is done through a mobile app, the service also includes a video call to a bank’s worker. The guest will have to get an individual identification number. Altyn Bank, Fortebank, First Heartland Jysan Bank are in the programme. The organisers claim such cards can be deposited via a transfer from relatives.

“One can be creative with everything”

In mid-January, the Ministry of Health Care of Turkey said Russian tourists who didn’t live and didn’t have residence permit in this country could receive the vaccines Pfizer and Sinovac in Turkey. So Turkey joined the number of countries where one can go on a “vaccination tour.” At the same time, experts already noted that this product wasn’t popular. How more popular will the “plastic tour” be?

“I haven’t heard about it. Perhaps, people write about it in messengers,” says head of the Tatarstan Association of Tour Agencies Ramil Miftakhov. “As for vaccination tours, they haven’t gone. Europe is closed, but there is Armenia, Turkey. There aren’t direct flights, but there are connection flights. Of course, all this influences the demand, and demand for such services is becoming niche.”
“We have such a business that one can be creative with everything,” jokes head of Travel and Work Yulia Talanova. “Such a format is individual tourism when tourists themselves go to firms. In other words, this can be organised, but it is impossible to massively earn on it. Such trips will be combined with sightseeing. I know Uzbekistan is popular. Kazakhstan isn’t yet, though there are things to see there. As a person who has been there I can say this for sure.”
“I think it is designed for people who have a lot of money and obviously lack those $10,000 that can be taken abroad,” thinks Director General of Companion SP Sergey Pasechnik. “People, for instance, who go to shopping tours to Milan. While the rest who have $2,000 as maximum won’t go on such tours.

We should note that there obviously can be swindlers among the organisers of such tours — because we are talking about personal data, banks’ rules are changing weekly. So a tourist who decided to go on such a trip should be as careful as possible.

Radif Kashapov