Visa reaches deal with Russia over card payment processing

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Visa agreed to transfer the processing of transactions made on its cards in Russia to the country’s new local payment system on Thursday, following a similar agreement made by MasterCard in December.

Russia’s central bank will act as a settlement office for Visa card transactions made in Russia.

The agreement comes just over a year after the two card processors stopped providing services to Russian banks as part of Western sanctions following the country’s annexation of Crimea.

In order to prevent further disruption, President Vladimir Putin backed plans for a national payment system. The Russian lower house of parliament then passed a law requiring payment transactions to be processed by Russian institutions. A lack of cooperation would have seen Visa and MasterCard paying heavy security deposits in order to stay in operation in Russia.

A Russian finance minister told the Wall Street Journal in May that the country was working toward a national payment system to  mirror those of Turkey and France, which require international card providers to work with local systems to process transactions.