30.03.2022, 13:29

No Visa and Mastercard, No problem for Russian credit card users, Here’s why

Russia’s eight-year effort to build a homegrown alternative to Visa and Mastercard paid off when the U.S. card giants left the country

Russia’s eight-year effort to build a homegrown alternative to Visa and Mastercard paid off when the U.S. card giants left the country

Rocked by sanctions following its annexation of Crimea, Russia built its own payments network, Mir, ultimately taking the sting out of exists by Visa and Mastercard .

Related: Russian banks rush to switch to Chinese card system as Visa and Mastercard suspend all operations in Russia

Mir (Russian: Мир, IPA: [ˈmʲir]; lit. ’peace’ or ‘world’) is a Russian payment system for electronic fund transfers established by the Central Bank of Russia under a law adopted on 1 May 2017.

The system is operated by the Russian National Card Payment System, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Russia. Mir does not itself issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers; rather, Mir provides financial institutions with Mir-branded payment products that they then use to offer credit, debit, or other programs to their customers. The development and implementation of Mir was spurred by the imposition of international sanctions against Russia in 2014 to circumnavigate the reliance on the likes of Visa and Mastercard.

Mir cards were initially accepted mostly by Russia-based companies, such as Aeroflot and Russian Railways, but it gradually became popular among foreign companies with operations in Russia.In April 2016, AliExpress became the first foreign company to accept Mir as a form of payment within the Russian Federation, and McDonald’s was the first U.S. company to accept it three months later.

The consequences of harsh economic sanctions against Russia are already being felt across the globe. WSJ’s Greg Ip joins other experts to explain the significance of what has happened so far and how the conflict might transform the global economy.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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