Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a national payment system, according a report of an address he delivered Thursday to the Russian parliament.
Putin's address follows moves by MasterCard and Visa to cut off Russian banks in the wake of that countries annexation of Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine.
"For Visa and MasterCard it would be a setback in a region that has high growth potential," says Phil Philliou, a partner in Philliou Partners, which provides payment consulting.
The Russian president pointed to the success of national payment systems in Japan and China and asked members of Parliament, "Why do we not do this? This definitely should be done and we will do this," according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
One of these systems is China UnionPay, that nation's largest payment network with more than 3.5 billion cards in circulation. UnionPay has branched out to other countries through various partnerships and is active in mobile payments.
The U.S. and other western countries responded to Russia's moves in Crimea with sanctions, including expulsion from the G8 group of industrialized nations, and the freezing of assets for some of Russia's most prominent business people.
Visa and MasterCard recently stopped processing payments for Bank Rossiya, and three other banks either tied to Rossiya or to the businesspeople on the sanctions list. Visa and MasterCard later restored some payment processing to two banks, but is still not processing payments for Rossiya and Sobinbank, which is owned by Rossiya. Cardholders with accounts at these banks can't make payments, but can withdraw cash from ATMs.