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Visa, MasterCard set to increase business in Russia — deputy PM

May 23, 2014, 20:14 UTC+3 ST PETERSBURG

Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that these international payment systems intend to create a Russian national payment operator

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© ITAR-TASS/Igor Koroteev

ST PETERSBURG, May 23./ITAR-TASS/. Visa and MasterCard, the international payment systems, are keen to increase their business in Russia and are set to get free from influence and decisions of foreign governments, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel on Friday.

"They (Visa and MasterCard) want to increase their business in Russia," Shuvalov said adding that the two card giants were planning to set up basic infrastructure in Russia and while doing business here, they would not "be governed by foreign governments' decisions."

Earlier on Friday, Igor Shuvalov and Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov held talks with Visa and MasterCard at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that is underway in this Russian second largest city.

Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov previously stated upon the results of talks with Visa and MasterCard representatives that these international payment systems intend to create a Russian national payment operator within a year and a half.


Amendments to the law

Earlier it was reported that the Russian Central Bank on Wednesday received amendments to the law on the National Payment System. The amendments are designed to exclude from the law’s text the formulas of collateral deposits, as well as penalties for the payment systems’ refusal to work with any Russian credit organizations, a source reported.

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 negotiating 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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