Visa and Mastercard executives met members of
the Russian government in St Petersburg to discuss new rules
that would oblige foreign card companies to pay a hefty security
deposit to the central bank to work in Russia.
The companies said the rules - passed by Russia's parliament
after the West imposed sanctions on a number of individuals and
companies over the Ukraine crisis - would complicate their
Russian operations but had no plans to exit.
"In any situation, we will stay in Russia," Ilya Ryaby, general
director of Mastercard in Russia, told journalists at the St
Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Andrew Torre, director of Visa in Russia, said: "We are willing
to work in Russia and after this meeting we hope that a
compromise solution will be found".
After Friday's meeting, Ryaby said the card companies had
discussed what could be done to create a system of cashless
transactions and a system of servicing payment cards in Russia.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters that Visa
and Mastercard's plans to set up Russia-based subsidiaries would
take around a year and a half. In the meantime they would work
with Russia's existing payment systems, he said.
"We are willing to cooperate in this direction," Siluanov said.
"I think we will find a solution that suits both Visa and
Mastercard and the Russian Federation."
Visa and Mastercard stopped serving several Russian banks after
the United States imposed sanctions over the annexation of
Crimea in March.
Russia later launched a package of measures aimed at stimulating
the creation of a Russian national payment system to reduce its
reliance on Western companies.
Among those measures, foreign card companies would from July 1
have to pay a security deposit of 25 percent of their average
daily turnover in Russia to the central bank once a quarter.
(Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by David Holmes)
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