MasterCard reaches deal on Russian payment processing

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MasterCard has reached a deal with Russian authorities to process payments using the country’s state-owned system.

The US company signed an agreement on December 30th that will see the processing of the MasterCard transactions in Russia gradually move under the control of a local payments system.

New regulations require foreign card companies to move Russian payments to the central bank-controlled National System of Payment Cards (NSPC) or face a hefty fine. The regulation changes came after Visa and MasterCard stopped serving Russian banks subject to Western sanctions following the country’s annexation of Crimea.

In May, President Vladimir Putin signed a law ordering the establishment of a Russian national payment system in a bid to curb Russia’s dependence on foreign systems. Visa and MasterCard were initially required to find a Russian payments system to process transactions by October 31st, but the deadline was extended.

Visa also intends to continue operations in Russia, and is also in cooperation with the Bank of Russia, which will act as a settlement office for foreign card payments processed by the local system.