Russia’s national payment system MIR to expand into Europe

MIR payment system, developed by Russia in response to Western sanctions, is set to hit the European market. It will launch a pilot project at the Russian-British business forum in London

The payment scheme, already popular in Russia and numerous Asian countries, is set for launch “within days” across the United Kingdom following negotiations between officials in Moscow and London, making Britain the first of eight countries in Europe to join the initiative.

 

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PayXpert will become the unique acquirer of MIR cards in Europe, and the UK will be the first country where the system will operate, according to one of the organizers of the business event, the Roscongress Foundation.

Currently, MIR cards have been accepted by device networks of 300 Russian banks, including more than 130,000 ATMs and 2,700,000 POS terminals, which makes the MIR payment system a competitor for international systems, including American Express, VISA and Master Card, Chinese UnionPay and Japanese JCB. Russian banks have already issued more than 69.7 million MIR cards.

«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.

The ability to make transactions through the Russian system will simplify payment transactions for customers of companies that offer products or services in the Russian market, and, as a result, increase their turnover. For the UK, which will be the first launch country, the MIR payment system opens up access to the Russian consumer market.

The benefits to the tourism sector are also obvious. Each year, more than forty million tourists from Russia visit Europe with average daily expenses of about 172 pounds, their purchasing power and average expenses are much higher than those of tourists from other countries. Russian tourists spent 24 billion pounds abroad in 2018 and ranked eighth place among foreign tourists visited Europe.

Russia started developing its own national payment system when the US targeted it with sanctions in 2014. Back then clients of several Russian banks were temporarily unable to use Visa and Mastercard due to the restrictions. Since the introduction of the new system, Russian banks have already issued more than 69.7 million MIR cards.

Currently, PayXpert has several offices in Europe (UK, Spain and France) and Asia (Taiwan) to ensure that it covers the majority of the territory it operates in, and so it can offer the most appropriate payment methods in each of these areas. In the UK, for example, PayXpert is one of the few official partners of both WeChat Pay and Alipay, the most widely used payment methods in China. Its knowledge and experience of other more advanced markets, such as Asia, in terms of digital payments, allow PayXpert to provide its customers with the latest in payment technology.

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