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FACTBOX: Mir payment system launched in 10 countries, over 15 want to introduce it

In 2023, the regulator plans to bring the card to 5-6 new countries

MOSCOW, July 19. /TASS/. Margarita Island in Venezuela has begun to accept Russia’s Mir payment cards, Russian Ambassador to Caracas Sergey Melik-Bagdasarov told reporters on Wednesday.

To date, Russian tourists can use Mir cards in nine more countries, both with and without restrictions. The Bank of Russia is working on expanding the list of states where Mir would be accepted. In 2023, the regulator plans to bring the card to 5-6 new countries.

TASS has collected basic information about the use of Mir cards in foreign countries.

Unrestricted use

Russia signed one of its first agreements on connecting payment systems with Abkhazia. In the republic, Mir cards can be used without restrictions - cardholders can make transactions at ATMs, as well as pay for goods and services in commercial and retail businesses in the country.

The cards also work in Belarus, as Moscow and Minsk do not depend on international payment systems thanks to the union program to integrate national payment card systems and financial messaging systems. The Mir card is accepted by anyone who uses the BELKART payment system and VTB Bank in Belarus.

In Armenia and South Ossetia, Mir cards are used almost everywhere.

Restricted use

The Mir payment system has been launched on the Venezuelan resort island of Margarita. One can use the card in shopping centers and service enterprises. As part of a test mode, the card is being used in Caracas, but so far it is not possible to pay by card at retail stores in the city.

In Cuba, a number of banks also accept Russian cards - one can withdraw money in pesos. However, it is still impossible to pay with the Mir card in restaurants and shops. Meanwhile, the Bank of Russia clarified that this summer the cards will work in the entire POS-terminal network of Cuba.

VTB Kazakhstan fully services both its own Mir cards and cards issued by other banks. In the same mode, the Mir cards issued by non-sanctioned Russian banks are serviced by the Kazakh Bereke Bank, which was previously a subsidiary of Sberbank and bought out by the national holding Baiterek. However, Halyk Bank, Kazakhstan’s largest bank, stopped accepting Mir.

In Tajikistan, you cannot pay with a Russian card, but you can withdraw somoni from ATMs. In particular, the cards work in the Dushanbe City Bank. In South Korea, you can pay with Mir only in the country's largest chain store, CU.

In fall 2022, nine Kyrgyz banks, in fear of being sanctioned by US financial institutions, also suspended the service of Russian cards. In total, there are 22 local commercial banks in Kyrgyzstan, but some of them had not even started working with Mir cards.

However, one can pay for purchases and services at the terminals of six banks: RSK-Bank, Kapital Bank, Keremet Bank, Tolubay Bank, Kyrgyzkommertsbank and the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank.

In mid-June, the Minister of Economy and Commerce of Kyrgyzstan, Daniyar Amangeldiev, announced that the Kyrgyz national payment card Elkart could be launched in Russia next year. He specified that the Russian Mir cards would also "work in harmony via a closed channel."

In Vietnam, it is almost impossible to pay with Mir at any terminal, but one can withdraw cash from ATMs at VRB Bank (Vietnam-Russia Bank, a subsidiary of Russian VTB).

Use of Mir cards suspended

Turkey stopped servicing Mir cards in September 2022 after the US Treasury announced its intention to impose sanctions for supporting Russia's attempts to expand the use of its payment system abroad. However, Russia noted that sooner or later Moscow and Ankara would find a solution to this problem. In the spring, the Hurriyet newspaper, citing sources in the administration of President Tayyip Erdogan, reported that Moscow and Ankara were working on creating a new payment system which will be called Rebit kart. Russian tourists in Turkey will be able to use cards from this system through an application on their mobile devices.

Starting in September 2022, it became impossible to use Mir in Uzbekistan for technical reasons. However, co-badged cards Uzcard-Mir work in the republic. Uzbekistan clarified that they were working on resuming the service of Russian cards.

Which countries are in dialogue

Russia and Iran have reached bilateral agreements on the use of Mir cards. The launch date depends on the central banks of the two countries. Soon it will be possible to pay with the Mir card in Mongolia.

Russia is also discussing the possibility of using the cards with Egypt, Indonesia and Mauritius. In addition, Russia and India are looking at mutually recognizing the Mir and RuPay payment systems. Mexico is also ready for negotiations on the introduction of the payment system. Peru, Malaysia and Thailand are open to proposals for the introduction of Russian cards, but this issue has not yet been discussed at the official level. The authorities of Nicaragua are interested in connecting their banking system to the Russian one.

The possibility of using Mir cards is being considered by the central bank of Sri Lanka, but so far the country has not given Russia any answer.

Earlier it was reported that work was underway to launch the Mir system in Cyprus and Jordan. The dialogue on the introduction of this system was held with Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Myanmar and the United Arab Emirates.

The intention to discuss the use of national payment systems by Moscow and Beijing was announced in 2022 by Chinese Ambassador to the Russian Federation Zhang Hanhui. Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad also pointed out the importance of connecting the republic to Mir.