Visa is partnering with BPC Banking Technologies and Multiservice Payment System (PayHD) to enable customs payments across the Russian Federation.

Through the service, the process of receiving customs documentation and bills, payment to customs services accounts, and verification of customs clearance takes about five minutes. The service is already in operation at Moscow area airports, and will be deployed at all customs points in Russia.

Visa is active in Russia, though it has been drawn into the current political tension that followed Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. Visa and MasterCard recently stopped processing payments for Bank Rossiya and other banks tied to Rossiya or high-profile businesspeople in Russia that are subject to U.S.-led sanctions.

Visa did not return a request for comment by deadline, and BPC did not comment on the Russian political issue.

Consumers who use the new customs payment service receive a QR code on the bill, which the payment terminal scans to accept the payment. The system then notifies Russian customs authorities.

To automate payments, BPC uses SmartVista, a product that handles authorization switching and routing, ATM and point of sale management, fraud prevention, card management and other payment functions. BPC has offices in Russia, North America and other markets, while PayHD has offices in Overland Park, Kan., Australia, Mexico and Europe.

"In addition to broadening the payment methods (including accepting Visa cards issued by any bank), the new solution allows the Federal Customs Service to accept the funds in real-time. SmartVista carries out the entire acquiring, switching, routing and authorization process in a couple of seconds, ensuring that customers are not kept waiting in the arrivals hall," says Daragh O'Byrne, chief marketing officer of BPC Banking Technologies, in an email to PaymentsSource.

Customers can make payments at point of sale terminals and via personal accounts on the PayHD website, O'Byrne says.

PayHD provides payment facilities for parties in the import/export business and for people who need to make customs payments for purchases they have made outside of Russia. According to Russian law, customs authorities cannot accept payments directly to their accounts, necessitating companies such as PayHD, O'Byrne says.

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