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Russia to launch its payment system in months, as disruption fears mount

Published time: March 24, 2014 14:14
Universal electronic card (Image: Federal authorized organization "Universal electronic card")

Universal electronic card (Image: Federal authorized organization "Universal electronic card")

The move by international payment systems Visa and MasterCard to block their use in Russia has unnerved some Russian businesses. Meanwhile, Moscow says its own national payment system may become fully operative within months.

Last week MasterCard and Visa stopped servicing some Russian banks, which shows the Russian market remains the monopoly of international operators.

Although the payment systems resumed operations with Russia’s SMP Bank on Sunday, it is estimated clients withdrew about $111 million from their accounts in just two days.

After years of rhetoric over the need to launch a domestic payment system in Russia, it may become a reality soon.

“The payment system PRO 100 is technologically ready to provide national processing in the near future. We estimate it will take a couple of months, as key Russian banks, that account for more than 40 percent of the market, are already linked to the PRO 100 payment system,” Andrey Nesterov, director of corporate communications at the Universal Electronic Card told RT.

Launched as a pilot in 2010, the project Universal electronic card provides for settlements of government, municipal and commercial services via Internet and self-service machines. The card’s electronic banking application is based on the payment system ‘Universal electronic card’, which has a logo PRO 100.

Four Russian banks are technically ready to use the Russian payment system – Sberbank, Uralsib, AK BARS and Moscow Industrial Bank.