Putin 'Backs' Government Agreement with Visa, Mastercard
International payments systems Visa and Mastercard are to continue operating in Russia following a new agreement with Moscow, media reports suggest.
Russia's daily Kommersant argues that most arrangements were made around the International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg.
President Vladimir Putin approved amendments to a law which was introduced in response to western sanctions against Moscow and to Visa and Mastercard's following decisio to stop offering services to customers of blacklisted SMP-Bank and Bank Rossiya.
The act regarding the work of international payment systems in Russia is to be changed, with parts of it prescribing hefty fines for non-provision of services to Russian customers removed from the text.
At a closed-doors meeting of President Vladimir Putin and government and Central Bank officials, it was decided that articles mentioning any concrete sums of sanctions be deleted.
Visa and MasterCard, however, will still be obliged to transfer deposits in order to operate in Russia. The combined value they will have to give the Central Bank is USD 3.8 B. This corresponds to the average sum of all transactions performed by them on Russian soil every 48 hours.
Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed the announcement, but refused to elaborate on the agreements.
Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was earlier quoted as saying that Visa and Mastercard were committed to "creating an entirely Russian [international payments] operator."
The President for his part announced last week that the national system Moscow is set to establish will be modeled after Japan's JCB and China's UnionPay, which allow work with foreign partners and have also managed to expand on markets outside their countries.
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