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Visa, MasterCard seek compromise with Russia to continue business

May 22, 2014, 13:40 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
All the parties were expressing their readiness for a compromise to allow Visa and MasterCard to continue their work in Russia, the source said
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ST. PETERSBURG, May 22. /ITAR-TASS/. The volume of collateral deposits, a major stumbling block for Visa and MasterCard to continue their operations in Russia, may be excluded from recent amendments establishing tighter requirements for international payment systems, a source close to the matter said on Thursday.

Under the new proposal, the formulas determining warrant deposits and penalties for operators’ refusal to cooperate with any of Russian credit institutions should be removed from the law on the national payment system, the source said at the St. Petersburg international business forum.

It has been proposed that both formulas should be stipulated in a by-law while the right to set the size of collateral deposits and penalties will be vested either in the government or the Central Bank of Russia.

The source said that all the parties were expressing their readiness for a compromise to allow Visa and MasterCard to continue their work in Russia.

Visa and MasterCard chiefs stated on Monday they were negotiation changes to the legislation with Russian authorities. This requires Visa and MasterCard to place collateral deposits into special accounts with Russia's Central Bank. These equal the value of two-day transactions in Russia, Russian business daily Kommersant reported last week, quoting a limited-access report by US investment bank Morgan Stanley.

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. Sanctions were intended to influence Putin’s policy on Ukraine.

Based on total daily volume of $1.6 billion in cash and non-cash card payments in Russia, Morgan Stanley estimated MasterCard being obliged to deposit $1 billion and Visa as much as $1.9 billion with the bank. This compared with net earnings of their Russian units of $160 million and $350-470 million, respectively, the report’s author said.

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