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Russia to start test-mode connection to national payment system in February

January 28, 2015, 14:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian banks will swiitch over to National Payment Card System starting April 1

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© ITAR-TASS/Evgeniy Kurskov

MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. Russia’s largest lender Sberbank will start test-mode connection to the National Payment Card System in the first ten days of February, Director of the Sberbank Bank Card, Cash and Settlement Services Department Rostislav Yanykin said on Wednesday.

The National Payment Card System will set up a special team for Sberbank as a bank handling 1,500 transactions per second, he said.

Like other banks, Sberbank will switch to processing through the National Payment Card System from April 1 without any exceptions, he added.

"The meeting [with representatives of the Central Bank of Russia and the National Payment Card System] was quite productive. We agreed that we’re moving to the common goal of ensuring compliance with the federal law, which requires that all intra-Russian transactions should be processed through the National Payment Card System by April 1," the Sberbank official said.

"Sberbank, like all other banks, will comply with this law and there will be no indulgences for it in this regard," he said.

The effective Russian legislation requires the transfer of all intra-Russian payments to the National Payment Card System by April 1, 2015.

Technically, no difficulties are expected during this transition, he said.

"Roughly speaking, we previously sent all data to Visa and MasterCard whereas now we’ll send them to the National Payment Card System. Sberbank does not plan investment in this transition and no additional technical facilities will be required," he said.

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.

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