Russian Central Bank debuts payment cards to take on MasterCard and Visa

Two Russian EMV cards

Russia has made a concerted effort to move away from being dependent on international payment systems such as MasterCard and Visa, by introducing its own platform called ‘Mir’, which translates as “peace” or “world”.

So far 35 Russian banks have joined the payment system Mir, seven of them have tested the basic functions of the new card in their infrastructure: cash withdrawal and deposition through ATMs, payment for goods and services, fund transfers between cards. Another group of banks is to complete tests till the end of 2015.

The list of banks, which have joined the PS Mir, is published on the official website of the National Payment Card System (JSC NPCS).

JSC NPCS was founded on 23 July 2014, the Bank of Russia holds 100 per cent of its shares. From 1 April 2015, domestic operations with cards of all payment systems, including the international ones, are processed by the NPCS operation and clearing centre.


The Bank of Russia commemorated the first issue of cards Mir with a silver coin in denomination of 3 rubles. The coin has an unusual rectangular shape with rounded corners and its reverse side depicts the payment card Mir with the details typical of payment cards. The mintage of the coin is 5,000 pcs.

Olga Skorobogatova, deputy chair of the Bank of Russia, said: “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.”

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