Visa & Mastercard barred access to Russian financial technology

Visa & Mastercard barred access to Russian financial technology
The world’s two most used payment systems – Visa and MasterCard – have been prohibited from Fintech, the Russian center for new financial technology, Vedomosti daily reports.

According to the daily, Russian authorities do not want to give foreign companies like Visa and MasterCard access to the latest financial technology in Russia.

A spokesman from Fintech told Vedomosti the move is linked to security issues.

Fintech was established in December 2016 by the Russian Central Bank, Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, Alfa Bank, and other major banks and financial institutions. The purpose of the center is the development and implementation of new technological solutions and the digitalization of the Russian economy.

It is also working on developing methods of remote identification, including biometric identification technology, implementing pilot blockchain projects and creating a single space for retail payments in Russia.

Perhaps, the center has projects that are not publicly mentioned; they may be about cryptographic protection and other security issues, Alma Obayeva, the head of the National Payment Council told Vedomosti.

Russia has been promoting its own payment system Mir. All Russians employed by the state and pensioners have been obliged to exchange their Visa and MasterCard salary debit cards for Mir cards.

In May, only three percent of Russians had Mir debit cards, and 70 percent of people polled said they saw no need for an alternative payment system.

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