Russia to launch national payment card system

Moscow will use its own electronic card payment system as a countermeasure to sanctions imposed by western countries

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Russia is set to introduce its own national bank card, also known as Mir [World], both at home and abroad by the end of 2015 said President Vladimir Putin. 

“We need to launch our own ‘plastic’ [national payment cards] this year,” said Putin during the BRICS/SCO summits in Ufa. He confirmed that the card will not only be available “on the territory of Russian Federation, but also abroad.”

Russia also implied that Turkey will be amongst the many countries where the card system will be used.

“Russian tourists who travel to Turkey will be able to make payments through our cards,” said Putin according to the Turkish media. While he noted that close to 5 million Russian tourists chose Turkey as their holiday destination in 2014. 

When Russia annexed Crimea, the European Union and the US issued several sanctions aimed at restricting Moscow’s banking sector, energy and arms industries. 

International payment operators Visa and MasterCard also took action by blocking cards issued by several banks. However, on April 1 2015, both global payment operators started processing domestic payments inside Russia’s new national processing system.

According to Vladimir Komlev, head of the National System of Payment Cards (NSPC), the card will account for about 60 percent of the Russian card market by 2018. 

There are currently six banks lined up to participate in the NSPC and other international payments systems such as American Express “are at the final stage of verifying the terms” said Komlev. 

TRTWorld and agencies