MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. International payment card system VISA is transferring its intra-Russian transactions for processing through Russia’s National Payment Card System, the Central Bank said on Thursday.
VISA and Russia’s National Payment Card System signed a relevant agreement on February 18.
"The Bank of Russia, the National Payment Card System and OOO VISA Payment System also signed a three-party agreement defining the procedure for the provision of settlement services under the above operations through the Bank of Russia," the regulator said.
International payment operator MasterCard signed relevant documents with Russia’s National Payment Card System on December 30, 2014.
The signing of these documents marks an important practical step towards implementing the first stage of the National Payment Card System’s strategy for creating an operational payment clearing center to process international payment operators’ intra-Russian card transactions, the Bank of Russia said at that time.
Deputy Director of the Central Bank’s National Payment System Department Timur Bogatyryov said earlier he saw no problems for transferring VISA card intra-Russian transactions to the National Payment Card System for processing and expected that a relevant agreement with VISA would be signed soon.
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’s parliament adopted in late April a law on the National Payment System, under which foreign payment operators will be able to work in Russia from July 1, 2016 only if they transfer processing to Russian soil.
In mid-December 2014, eight Russian banks were connected in a test mode to the National Payment Card System.
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.
These cards will operate abroad through the MasterCard or Visa network, using an installed international app. Therefore, Russia’s National Payment Card System will be unable to protect its bankcard holders against sanctions and ensure uninterrupted servicing abroad. Russia’s National Payment Card System may appear on the international markets as an individual brand in 5-7 years, its developers believe.