Russian Banks Partner on New Card to Counter Visa, MasterCard

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The Bank of Russia and about three-dozen additional Russian banks have formed a partnership to issue a credit card to compete with Visa and MasterCard, according to FinExtra.

The Russian national payments card is intended to challenge the dominance of Visa and MasterCard. Seven Russian banks have already tested the card's basic functions, FinExtra reported, citing no sources.

The effort, dubbed the Mir card, will emblazon cards with the MasterCard, JCB and American Express logos, under a “co-badging” agreement.

Visa, in San Francisco, and MasterCard, in Purchase, N.Y., were hit with sanctions by Russia President Vladimir Putin in May 2014, in retribution for U.S. economic sanctions against Russia for its forced annexation of the Ukraine's Crimea territory.

Visa and MasterCard in December 2014 suspended operations in Crimea. Visa and MasterCard also temporarily halted processing in Russia earlier in 2014 after earlier Western sanctions.

Russia has long planned to develop its own card system, partly in response to the sanctions.


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