Russia and China may integrate Mir and UnionPay payment systems

Russia and China may integrate Mir and UnionPay payment systems
Chinese payment system Union Pay could be integrated with the Russian Mir payment card / Wikimedia Commons
By bne IntelliNews November 1, 2017

Russia's nascent payment system card Mir could be integrated with Chinese payment systems, namely Union Pay, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was cited as saying by RIA Novosti after an intra-government meeting.

Although initially resisted by the banks, the Mir payment card has gathered momentum with 176 local lenders adopting the system as of January 2017, and 97% of ATMs and over 75% of payment terminals accepting the card.

The Mir card payment and NSPK national payment system was created by the CBR in 2015 to cut reliance on Western payment systems under pressure from sanctions. Both Visa and MasterCard were forced to cut ties with a number of Russian banks in 2014 that were subject to US sanctions imposed over Russia's actions in Ukraine, starting with the annexation of Crimea. At the time, these companies had processed 90% of all payments in Russia.

"Moscow and Bejing are negotiating using national currencies for payments between the countries," Medvedev said, adding that "opportunities created by national payment systems" are also being studied.

Mir and Iranian payment card Shetab are working on integrating their payment systems so that both cards can be used in Iran and Russia.


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