The Russian Finance Ministry has published a draft resolution that softens the operating conditions for Visa and MasterCard in Russia until they acquire the status of a nationally significant payment system. The document is available on the unified portal of draft regulations.
The government is easing the requirements for companies if they cease to communicate information on the transfer of funds within the Russian Federation to payment clearing houses, which are currently located abroad.
If Visa and MasterCard meet this condition, they will not be required to make a security deposit "from July 1 to September 30 and from October 1 to October 31," according to the document. The amount of the deposit in question has been the subject of heated debate by the government and Visa and Mastercard. They will also not be charged a fine for failing to deposit these funds into an account in the Central Bank.
After Visa and MasterCard stopped processing the credit cards of several Russian banks because of U.S. sanctions, a law was passed in Russia requiring foreign payment systems to make quarterly security deposits amounting to 25 percent of the average daily turnover to a special account in the Bank of Russia starting July 1. The companies have protested that these requirements are excessive, and Visa has threatened to withdraw from the country altogether.
The authorities responded to the companies' complaints by drafting amendments to the law that would allow the government to use decrees to regulate contributions to the payment systems and penalties for non-payment or incomplete payment. The document is currently under consideration in the Duma.
Visa and MasterCard can avoid paying the security deposits if they find a partner in Russia that has the status of a significant payment system and that would assist them in completely transferring their processing to Russia. Now the main issue is the date by which the companies will be able to find a Russian partner and transfer their operations from foreign payment centers to Russia. Visa and MasterCard have not yet made any comments.
First published in Russian at RIA Novosti
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