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December 6, 2023

On the web

August 10, 2023

On the web

Russia to Launch CBDC Trials, Testing Digital Ruble with 13 Banks

Forbes India

"Russia's central bank, the Bank of Russia, is set to initiate a pivotal phase in its central bank digital currency (CBDC) project. It will begin testing operations with digital rubles on August 15, 2023. The upcoming pilot program will see the participation of 13 Russian banks, alongside a select group of clients, to assess the digital ruble's functionality and usability."

August 3, 2023

On the web

Bank of Russia Approves Logo, Fees for Digital Ruble

Novaya Gazeta Europe

"The Bank of Russia’s Board of Directors has approved the logo for the newly unveiled digital ruble, the bank said in a statement. “It consists of two interlinked elements: the ruble sign and a circle that runs around it, which, on the one hand, evokes the form of a traditional coin, and, on the other hand, reflects the Bank of Russia logo,” the statement reads."

July 28, 2023

On the web

Putin Signs Law on Introduction of Digital Ruble in Russia


"Russia is moving forward with its central bank digital currency (CBDC) as President Vladimir Putin signed the digital ruble bill into law on July 24, according to an official government document. With this approval, the digital ruble law is officially scheduled to take effect from Aug. 1, 2023, with all but one rule ready to be enforced."

March 15, 2023

On the wires

India Using SWIFT Global Payment System to Settle Russia Dollar Trade


"Indian companies are using the SWIFT global payment system to settle dollar payments with Russia, a top trade official said on Wednesday, even though many Russian banks are blocked from the network due to Western sanctions. The West blocked access to SWIFT for several Russian banks, including Sberbank and VTB, soon after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February last year to target Russian trade, making it harder for Russian companies to do business. SWIFT underpins financial transactions globally."

March 14, 2023

On the web

Cuban Banks Now Accepting Russia’s MIR ATM Cards

Russia Briefing News

"Several Cuban banks in Havana have now begun accepting Russia’s MIR payment cards, the equivalent of Visa or Mastercard in Russia or UnionPay in China. ATMs now display the logo of the Russian payment system and provide an option to withdraw funds from cards issued by Russian banks meaning Russian visitors to the island can access their money held in accounts in Russia. The money is provided in Cuban Pesos, with the Ruble / Peso exchange rate currently about 1 to 1.5."

February 6, 2023

On the web

Application of Biometric Face Identification Technologies in Financial Institutions

Biometric Update

The legal aspects of the use of biometric technologies for face recognition of people at the current time are given. An overview of existing solutions in the field of biometric identification of clients by face by Russian banks is presented. The current solutions of such banks as Sber, Alfa-Bank and Ak Bars Bank, as well as examples of the equipment they use, are considered.

September 29, 2022

On the web

Russia Plans to Use Digital Rouble in Settlements with China, Says Lawmaker


After launching a digital rouble early next year, Russia plans to use the currency in mutual settlements with China as it seeks to reduce Washington’s global financial hegemony, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Monday.

Russia, like many countries, has been developing digital money over the last couple of years to modernise its financial system, speed up payments and head off the threat of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin gaining influence.

August 31, 2022

On the web

Russia Moves From SWIFT to More Secure Mechanisms

Al Mayadeen English

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Alexander Pankin revealed that the Bank of Russia is actively developing the Financial Message Transmission System.

Russia believes that a gradual shift from the SWIFT interbank payment system to more secure channels for sending financial information protected from external pressure is necessary, according to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin in an interview for TASS.

April 21, 2022

On the web

Explainer: China UnionPay, Russia’s Potential Payments Backstop


“Several Russian banks plan to issue payment cards that use the network of China UnionPay as well as that of home-grown payment system Mir, after Visa Inc (V.N) and MasterCard Inc (MA.N) joined other Western firms in suspending operations in Russia. read more UnionPay and Mir are among few options left for Russians to make payments abroad since Russian banks were isolated from the global financial system following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”. read more

April 20, 2022

On the web

Russia Central Bank Will Not Name Banks Linked to SWIFT Alternative


“Russia’s central bank said on Tuesday it would no longer publish the names of banks connected to Moscow’s alternative to the SWIFT payments network, as Russia grapples with sanctions. Several Russian banks have been banned from SWIFT after Moscow began what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24 as part of wider western penalties designed to isolate Russia from global markets over the invasion.”

Russia reaps reward of domestic payment system after Visa and Mastercard withdraw

Financial Times

“In 2014 Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire businessman and an ally of Russia president Vladimir Putin, sang the praises of a new UnionPay card he obtained after sanctions rendered his Visa and Mastercards useless. “It works perfectly,” he told Russian news agency Tass of the card issued by China’s UnionPay. “And it is accepted in a lot of places. In some sense, it will be more reliable than Visa. At least the Americans won’t be able to grab it.” Timchenko’s wallet refresh echoed Putin’s larger push to reshape his country’s payments system after western sanctions were imposed on Russian banks following the 2014 invasion of Crimea.”

April 18, 2022

On the web

Bill ‘On Digital Currency’ Caps Crypto Investments for Russians, Opens Door for Payments

Bitcoin News

“The Ministry of Finance of Russia recently submitted to the government an updated version of its bill “On Digital Currency” designed to comprehensively regulate the country’s crypto market. Details about the law’s provisions have surfaced in Russian media reports this week. According to the draft, qualified investors, or “professional purchasers of digital currency” as they are now described, will have unrestricted access to crypto assets. Ordinary Russians, however, will be able to buy a maximum of 600,000 rubles (approx. $7,000) worth of cryptocurrency each year. And that’s after they take a special exam .”

March 18, 2022

On the web

Citigroup Pushes Through Russia’s $117 Million Coupon Payment


“Citigroup Inc. has processed the $117 million Russia transferred to pay two bond coupons, and has sent the cash further along the payment chain, according to a person familiar with the matter. The funds are no longer with Citigroup, the person said, declining to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly on the issue. A spokeswoman for Citigroup declined to comment. The funds were denominated in dollars, two separate people said.”

July 22, 2021

On the web

Russia’s Mir Card Payment System Connects to Apple Pay

US News

“Russia’s card payment system Mir, which was set up in 2015 after the West imposed sanctions on Moscow, is now connected to Apple Pay, the card issuer said on Tuesday. More than 95 million Mir cards have been issued by Russia’s National Card Payment System (NSPK), accounting for about a third of Russia’s card market which was previously dominated by international payment systems Visa and Mastercard.”

June 30, 2021

On the wires

Russian National Payment System “Mir” Becomes Available in South Korea

“BC Card, the biggest payment processing company in South Korea, firstly affiliates with NSPK, a Russian national payment company, to process card payment of “Mir” system in South Korea. As a Russian national payment system, Mir has 158 Issuers and 265 acquirers. Also its acceptances are spread over 11 countries. According to NSPK, 98.7 million cards have been issued in Russia as of May 1st, 2021. Thanks to the cooperation, Russians who visits South Korea will become able to use their own.”

June 2, 2021

On the web

Mir Breaks Visa-Mastercard Duopoly in Russia

Finextra Research

“As Europe’s proposed alternative to Visa and Mastercard takes shape, evidence from Russia suggests that an upstart rival can break the American giants’ duopoly – if government is prepared to put its finger on the scale. The European Central Bank has long-floated the idea of a home-grown cross-border scheme capable of taking on Visa and Mastercard.Last year, a host of the continent’s banks finally unveiled plans to take action through the European Payments Initiative (EPI), which promises a unified pan-European payment system, offering a card for consumers and merchants across Europe, a digital wallet and P2P payments.”

April 27, 2021

On the web

‘Pay With a Glance’: Russia’s Sberbank Rolling Out Face-recognition Payments


“Russia’s biggest bank hopes shoppers will sign up for a facial recognition service that will let them pay for their groceries with just a glance. Sberbank is partnering with supermarket chain Magnit and plans to connect 100 stores in Moscow and Krasnodar to the service by June, the two companies said on Thursday. A pilot programme is already running in ten shops. As banking margins shrink, Russia’s largest lender is expanding in areas ranging from food delivery and taxi services to cloud computing and cyber security.”

April 22, 2021

On the web

Russian Fintech Tinkoff Launches Buy Now Pay Later Service

Crowdfund Insider

“Russian banking group Tinkoff announced on Wednesday the launch of its buy now pay later service, Dolyame.ru . According to Tinkoff, Dolyame.ru allows customers to split purchases into four equal parts. Much like other buy now pay later services, customers just need to cover 25% of the purchase’s price and the remaining three quarters are debited from the buyer’s card on a bi-weekly basis until the full payment amount is received.”

March 19, 2021

On the web

Russian Big Tech Yandex Launches Payment Service

FinTech Futures

“Russian Big Tech Yandex has launched Yandex.Pay, a payment service which can store its customers’ card details for e-commerce payments. The local internet giant rivals the likes of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay, which all landed in the Russian market between 2016 and 2017. Initially available via websites, Yandex soon intends to roll out the payment service in mobile applications and offline. Currently, Yandex account holders can upload bank card details issued via Mastercard, Visa or Mir – a Russian card issuer.”

October 28, 2020

On the web

Russia launches public consultation on digital ruble


“The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has begun a public consultation on the launch of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that would allow citizens to use “mobile devices and other media” to make payments using a digital ruble. The Digital Ruble: Public Consultation Report lays out possible options and ways to implement a digital ruble, the functional requirements of introducing a CBDC and its potential impact on the financial sector and economy in general.”

March 25, 2020

On the web

Russian Prime Minister Introduces Bill to Allow Fintech Sandboxes, Blockchain Included


Introduced in a new bill on March 17 by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the plan does not directly mention blockchain or cryptocurrencies, but an explanatory note mentions distributed ledger as one of the technologies that could be explored in the new “experimental regulatory regimes.”  Such regimes can be established to live-test the new technologies in medicine, transporation, distant learning, financial markets, online commerce and other sectors. The bill gives Russia’s regulators scope to deal with novel tech in a more flexible way, the document says. It’s also suggested that the country’s regions would be able to set up their own local sandboxes.”

December 2, 2019

On the web

Presentation of the First European Acquirer of the MIR Card Scheme at the Russian-British Business Forum – The Roscongress Information and Analytical System


“We were waiting for an acquirer for the MIR card to be established in the UK. Demonstrating the potential of Russia’s financial services abroad is extremely important. Today, increasing the number of companies connected to acquiring, creating the appropriate infrastructure and assisting in connecting new organisations in the United Kingdom is one of our most important tasks,” said Boris Abramov, Russian Trade Representative in the UK.

June 10, 2019

On the web

Sberbank to Open First Branch in McDonald’s Restaurant

Russia Business Today

“Under the agreement, signed at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the companies intend to partner in card acquiring and a number of other more innovative areas such as using technical systems to analyze data, developing consumer behavior analysis systems, speeding up bank card payments, developing a payroll project for employees, and the opening of a pilot branch of the bank in a McDonald’s outlet.”

March 11, 2019

On the web

Russia’s Mir Domestic Payments System Adds Support for NFC Payments

NFC World

“The new Mir Pay service uses tokenization and is supported on NFC phones running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and above. Eight of the more than 160 banks that issue Mir cards have signed up to take part in the initial rollout — Russian Agricultural BankRussian National Commercial BankCenter-invest BankSMP BankBank RussiaUBRDCredit Bank of Moscow and Promsvyazbank.”

March 8, 2019

On the web

MegaFon Adds Loans to Its Mobile Banking App

NFC World

“The latest feature – Credit via Mobile – enables customers to use their smartphone to apply for credit from Russia’s largest financial institutions without having to visit a bank. The loan request is analysed and the approved funds are sent immediately to the customer’s mobile phone bank account.”

November 5, 2018

On the web

Sberbank and Yandex launch ‘Russian Amazon’

Financial Times (paywall)

“Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, and search company Yandex are hoping to capture the country’s Rbs1.1tn ecommerce market with a new online marketplace, Beru, which they say will be a “Russian Amazon”.  The $1bn joint venture, which launched on Wednesday, is key to Sberbank chief executive Herman Gref’s plan to diversify the state-run bank by creating an “ecosystem” that provides everything from medical services to cyber security.”

April 3, 2018

On the web

Yandex adds online installment payment plan to digital wallet

Mobile Payments Today

“Yandex Money, which is considered the equivalent of PayPal in Russia, has introduced a new feature to its Checkout product that enables online stores and services to provide their customers with an option of paying for purchases in installments, according to a press release. The installment plan will be available to the users immediately once they fill out a simple form at the Yandex.Checkout’s website.”

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