MOSCOW (Reuters) – After Western sanctions gutted Russia’s financial system five years ago, a new bank card began appearing in the wallets of many Russians.
Now the country is hoping to introduce its cards, known as Mir cards, to foreign markets where Russian nationals live and travel, Vladimir Komlev, the head of Russia’s National Card Payment System (NSPK), told Reuters in an interview.
“In the next three years we want Mir cards to be operational in countries where Russians are used to traveling,” Komlev said. “It’s the hardest task in terms of returns on investment.”
Russia created its own card payment system in 2014 because it feared U.S. and European sanctions against some Russian banks and businesspeople over the annexation of Crimea could block transactions made with U.S.-based Mastercard and Visa.
NSPK said Turkey’s Isbank had started accepting Mir cards as of Thursday. Russians made 5.7 million trips to Turkey last year, according to state statistics…
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