renews plan for domestic alternative to Visa, Mastercard
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[March 27, 2014]
MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russia has revived
plans to develop its own card payment system to cut its dependence
on Visa <V.N> and Mastercard <MA.N> after U.S. sanctions led to
disruptions in their services, its finance minister said on
Visa and MasterCard last week stopped providing services for payment
transactions for clients at Bank Rossiya, which was hit by U.S.
sanctions over Moscow's involvement in a crisis in Ukraine and
annexation of Crimea.
The two payment systems also suspended services for clients at
several other banks whose shareholders, but not the banks, are on
the U.S. list.
They resumed services after the U.S. government said these banks did
not meet criteria for sanctions.
"The payments restriction by Visa and Mastercard at one bank made us
start thinking very seriously how we can secure ourselves against
this kind of cases," Anton Siluanov said in an interview on the
Rossiya 24 channel.
The "backup" national payment system would operate only on Russian
territory, he said.
Siluanov said the ministry and Russian banks were preparing
proposals and these would be implemented in the near future.
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"Nevertheless, we believe that there is no serious reason to say
that we should abandon the existing systems, especially Visa and
Mastercard, but in parallel we will begin to focus more on
developing our own settlement system," he said.
St Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya faces sanctions after being
described by the United States as "the personal bank for senior
officials" of Russia.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; editing by Anthony Barker)
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