Mastercard Negotiating To Provide Global Ruble Credit-Debit Cards

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mir-cardsRussia’s National Payment Card System (NSPK) and Mastercard are holding negotiations on co-badged cards, to be called Mir-Mastercard, according to Russian banking officials. NSPK and Mastercard will produce 40 million co-badged cards, if the outcome of their negotiations is successful.

In Russia, the card will operate as Mir, while abroad it will function as a card of the international payment system. A similar agreement between NSPK and Mastercard was signed in June 2015. The companies agreed to produce Mir-Maestro cards, however, the project never really got off the ground as the number of venues where Maestro is accepted in Russia is limited. Since then Russia’s ATM network has been significantly upgraded and expanded.

The Russian Central Bank and NSPK had been holding negotiations with Visa since the end of the 2016. The NSPK has apparently also signed agreements on co-badged cards with Japanese JCB, American Express and China’s Union Pay.

The Mir national payment system began operating in Russia on 1st April 2015. The system was created after Visa and MasterCard stopped service to certain credit cards issued by Russian banks due to the American led sanctions placed upon Russia. The Mir system as operated by NSPK seeks to strengthen the sovereignty of Russia’s national payment industry and secure the processing of domestic and international transactions using Russian bank cards.

The Russian economy is starting to experience a return to stability and has the potential for a boom. Although Western sanctions against Russia are still in place, the economy has been moved to absorb this, a situation that has resulted in three years of negative growth and rising prices in many basic products. However, Russia has spent considerable effort on energizing its Eurasian Economic Union, with trade among members increasing by 38% last year. Russia is also putting more emphasis on trading with Asia, and as a result trade figures between Russia and the East have significantly improved. With the economy now back on track for achieving 2% growth this year – a higher rate than the EU – the Russian market is being seen as being in the ascendency. The potential in the domestic ecommerce market is expected to be similar to that of China,  while moves to re-balance the economy by promoting the development of Russian SME’s  can also be expected to have a positive effect.


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