Phuket officials deny refused Russian credit cards

PHUKET: The Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) has reported that claims by Russians who have been denied credit cards to make payments in Phuket or Krabi are fake news.

Russians are being denied credit cards because the credit card system deemed the transactions ‘invalid’, PR Phuket reported this afternoon (9 March), citing a report by the National Anti-Fake News Center .

Note, the position of anti-fake news center cited the Public Relations Department’s Phuket office as carrying out the investigation which confirmed the information was “inaccurate”.

Also note that the report shared by PR Phuketfrom the Anti-Fake News Center, made no mention that credit cards presented to Russian tourists were refused because the hotel or another company refused to accept them or because of international sanctions against major Russian banks in effect in response to the invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine.

“According to information published on the issue of hotels in Krabi and Phuket refraining from accepting credit cards from Russian tourists, the Anti-Fake News Center has conducted a fact check by the public relations office of Phuket and found such questions to be misinformation,” the report said.

“If there is any news that hotels in Krabi and Phuket are not accepting credit cards from Russian tourists due to the unrest [sic] which resulted in complicated international financial transactions, the provincial public relations office in Phuket has reviewed and clarified the above-mentioned matter that at present there is no forbearance in accepting credit cards from tourists strangers.

“Instead, it is due to the problem of the tourist credit card system, which cannot be used. The operator [sic] therefore proposed to pay expenses in cash instead of using a credit payment system to reduce risk,” the report states.

“So information and images are published and continue to be shared now, so this is distorted information. Therefore, asking people to cooperate, not to share, not to transmit this news in order to to avoid potential impacts and for people to receive information from the Phuket Provincial Public Relations Office can be tracked on the website. https://phuket.prd.go.th/th/page/item/index/id/12 or call 076-216118,” the report adds.

“The conclusion of this story is as follows: foreign tourists’ credit cards were not accepted, but because the tourist’s credit card is invalid,” the report concludes.

Very interestingly, the report does not mention that Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Deputy Governor for Marketing for Europe, Americas and the Middle East, confirmed information.

The ‘fake news’ allegation also failed to identify that the Phuket Info Center, operated by the Phuket Office of the Ministry of Interior – that is, which falls under the office of the Governor of Phuket – had also shared the news on his own official webpage last Friday (March 4).

Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Yuthasak Supasorn, even acknowledged the problem of blocking transactions via Russian banks and credit cards, and explained that tourism operators work with UnionPay, a payment platform. Chinese payment, to offer this channel to Russian visitors.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, chairman of the Phuket Tourism Association, also confirmed that Phuket tourism operators are seeking to use UnionPay through China to receive payments from Russian tourists and tour operators, despite international sanctions in place in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Visa and Mastrcard themselves issued public statements on Saturday March 5 indicating that they were suspending their operations in Russia amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Mastercard cards issued by Russian banks would no longer be supported by the company’s network abroad. Visa also said cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside of Russia.

Phuket News received independent confirmation on Friday March 4 that some credit cards issued by banks in Russia were already declined. See the photo gallery above.