Russia eases requirements for Visa and MasterCard

The Russian Ministry of Finance has submitted a new document to the government establishing the description of payment systems “of national importance”, which makes it technically possible for Visa and MasterCard to obtain this status.

Source: DPA / Vostok Photo

The Russian Ministry of Finance has submitted a new document to the government establishing the description of payment systems “of national importance”, which makes it technically possible for Visa and MasterCard to obtain this status. All other payment systems without the status of “of national importance” must make security contributions amounting to two days’ worth of transactions in case there is a termination of payments.

The reason for the introduction of such measures was the decision by Visa and MasterCard to terminate services for bank cards issued by banks affiliated with those on the U.S. sanctions list. According to information provided by the Russian newspaper Kommersant, the new version of the Ministry of Finance document features a number of significant amendments: The chips on cards no longer need to be Russian and software may also be bought from the Russian “affiliates” of foreign manufactures.

“At the moment, normal negotiations are taking place over the conditions of further cooperation between international payment systems (IPS), the state, and banks, while new risks are being taken into account,” explains Yury Bozhor, head of the Plastic Cards Department at Russia’s Otkrytie Bank.

In Bozhor’s opinion, the demands made of the payment systems, were originally too high. Therefore if in the document there were initially requirements that all chip components be manufactured in Russia, then now it is sufficient to just assemble them here.

The concessions toward international payment systems are explained by the fact that the state is not interested in their departure from the Russian market, especially until Russia’s own payment system comes into being.

“The creation of a full-fledged national payment system has clearly been a question for more than a few months, as it has been posed by the government before,” says Anton Soroko, an analyst at the investment holding firm FINAM.

“The issue is about launching the mechanism itself and then, after all, it will be necessary to create the corresponding infrastructure, arrange for market participants to work with this system, and in the long term, to be able to work with other countries.” 

Read more: Finance Ministry proposes Visa and Mastercard defer fee payments

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