MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. The first five banks, including regional credit institutions, started transacting MasterCard intra-Russian operations through the processing center of the National Payment Card System from January 30, 2015 with settlements via the Central Bank, the regulator said on Tuesday.
The banks that have switched to the National Payment Card System (NPCS) include Gazprombank, commercial bank Rossiya hit by US sanctions, SMP Bank, Alexandrovsky Bank and MDM Bank, MasterCard international payment system said.
On February 2, the banks successfully completed their first settlements on MasterCard transactions through their accounts opened with the Central Bank of Russia, MasterCard said.
National Payment Card System Head Vladimir Komlev was quoted by MasterCard as saying in its press release that following its first tests, the NPCS will start "a large-scale transfer of interbank transaction flows under international payment cards to the NPCS operational processing and clearing center."
The NPCS’ processing infrastructure, communication channels and operational services "have showed their readiness for planned development of full-fledged and full-scale interaction with market participants," Komlev said.
Russia’s Central Bank has said processing of intra-Russian transactions under international payment cards will be transferred to the NPCS stage by stage. The Russian legislation requires banks’ connection to the NPCS to be completed by March 31, 2015.
It was earlier reported that the NPCS and MasterCard signed an agreement on December 30 on transferring processing to the NPCS. The transition will allow MasterCard not to transfer collateral deposits to Russia’s Central Bank.
Russia is creating its National Payment Card System as an alternative to the international payment operators Visa and MasterCard, which blocked card operations of some Russian banks in the spring of 2014 over western sanctions against Moscow.
Russia will develop its National Payment Card System in three stages. Until late March 2015, Russia plans to establish an operational payment clearing center to process Visa and MasterCard transactions inside the country. The center is designed to ensure uninterrupted transactions immune to geopolitical developments.
From December 2015, the National Payment Card System will start issuing its own bank cards with Russian chips. Their promotion internationally is planned for 2016-2017.
Russia’s National Payment Card System may appear on the international markets as an individual brand in 5-7 years, its developers believe.