Russia announces issuing of ‘Mir’ national payment cards

Russia announces issuing of ‘Mir’ national payment cards

The Bank of Russia and the National Payment Card System (NPCS) has announced the issuing of ‘Mir’ national payment cards. The first owners of the cards will be pensioners and state employees; and in the second half of 2016 – all other Russians. This week, the first seven bank-issuers of the card were announced: Gazprombank, MDM Bank, Moscow Industrial Bank, RNBK, Rossia Bank, Svyaz Bank, and SMP Bank. Two dozen banks are being tested ahead of issuing the cards. The project of creating Russia's own payment system, designed to ensure the security of the Russian financial system and Russian citizens with a convenient and reliable tool for making payments, started being implemented in mid-2014.

Olga Skorobogatova, Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia, says that “in a year and a half we have been able to create  not only a national payment system, but also to solve two strategic objectives. First, we transmitted the processing of major international payment systems to the NPCS operation clearinghouse. The second objective is the issuing of our own national card. The original purpose of the national payment system was to release a tool which would enable our citizens to feel confident in our market.”

The card must be in demand not only in Russia, but also we should be able to use it abroad. “Therefore, at the stage of developing our own applications, we concluded the co-badging agreement with Mastercard, JCB and American Express, which allows us to have co-badging cards as part of the ‘pilot’ release.”

Skorobogatova admits that preparation of the acceptance network will take time and will be implemented during the first half of the 2016. “The value of the card is important only if you can use it everywhere and people do not wonder whether a reception point will accept this card or not.

The NPCS developers want the card itself not just to be a means of payment at the moment, we want it to be easy to use and applicable for payments of a social nature, and so it could be used for transport applications. “We are very active with the Ministry of Communications and with the Ministry of Industry for the development of applications that can be combined with our card. We have made a great review of our clients' wishes, including through banks, and really brought out the need that our holders would get a versatile product that can be used in different state institutions to pay for their services,” Skorobogatova states.

According to her, the card would be much more expensive than the cards of other payment systems in terms of their advantageous rates and conditions compared with the international payment systems.