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Russia creates national payment card system operator

June 19, 2014, 16:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia’s first national payment card is expected to be issued in mid-1015

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Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina

Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina

© ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

MOSCOW, June 19. /ITAR-TASS/. The Central Bank of Russia has established an operator of the country’s national payment card system, which will function as an open joint stock company, Central Bank Chief Elvira Nabiullina said on Thursday.

“The national payment card system operator is undergoing state registration,” Nabiullina said. “We have a roadmap for infrastructure development and the Central Bank has set up a commission composed of MPs, senators and government members for finding technological solutions.”

Russia’s first national payment card is expected to be issued in mid-1015 and will function in co-branding with the Chinese UnionPay, Japanese JCB and the international Visa and MasterCard payment systems.

The national payment card system will be based on the technical infrastructure of one of the existing payment systems. The main contenders are Sberbank’s Pro100 and the Zolotaya Korona (Golden Crown) payment system developed by the Russia-based Center of Financial Technologies Group.

The new card will be valid for payments abroad. Internal transactions will be cleared only by the Russian operator of the national payment card system.

The Russian national payment card system will give consumers a large number of choices, when it is established, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.

“The national system of payment cards should give consumers a great number of choices and this is the main thing. But we are not talking about struggling with foreign systems as this is incorrect and actually means a breach of competition fundamentals,” Medvedev said.

At the same time, the Russian premier said the national payment card system would become “a reasonable alternative to foreign systems, including the most popular systems such as Visa and MasterCard.

“It is also very important to ensure interaction with the corresponding operators and streamline the specifics of their functioning on the territory of Russia,” the Russian premier said.

The Russian government has taken a number of steps for this purpose, including amendments to the law on the national payment system, Medvedev said.

The Russian legislation now requires Visa and MasterCard to place collateral deposits into special accounts with Russia's Central Bank.

The legislation was passed after Visa and MasterCard said they would block card operations by Rossiya and SMP banks blacklisted by the US administration as institutions with key shareholders close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The sanctions were intended to influence Putin’s policy on Ukraine.

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