Russia

Visa and Mastercard May Soon Exit Russia Under Draft Law — Reports

New Russian payment system laws could lead the worlds largest credit and debit card companies Visa and Mastercard to exit the countrys market, the Kommersant business daily reported on Friday.

U.S.-based Visa and Mastercard stopped servicing bank cards in annexed Crimea after the United States imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014. Russia created its own card payment system because it feared U.S. and European sanctions against some Russian banks and businesspeople over Crimea could block Visa and Mastercard transactions.

Russian lawmakers are now considering new legislation that will in effect prohibit international payment systems from refusing to process transactions in compliance with sanctions, Kommersant reported.

“We shouldnt encourage such shutoffs [in operations by payment systems] and tolerate discriminatory rules,” says the bills co-author Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the State Duma Financial Markets Committee.

If passed, companies like Visa and Mastercard will be required to register in Russia within a six-month deadline or face a ban.

Visa and Mastercard would rather wind down operations in Russia than comply with the new rules, Kommersant cited an unnamed source close to the international payment systems as saying. The companies themselves declined to comment on the story.

Visa later told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that it plans to ensure "uninterrupted" work in Russia.

Russias Central Bank told Kommersant it supports the new payment system rules and hopes they will be adopted this summer.

The bill quietly passed its first of three readings in the State Duma this spring. Russias lower house of parliament is scheduled to conRead More – Source

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