The U.K. will be the first country where the system will operate, and PayXpert will become the “unique acquirer” of MIR cards in Europe, the report noted. The pilot program is being launched at the Russian-British Business Forum in London, as one of the event organizers, the Roscongress Foundation, told the news outlet.
“The launch of our joint project with PayXpert is the first and foremost step in the development of MIR acquiring in Europe, which will lay the foundation for new promising trends in the foreign expansion of Russian payment cards,” said Vladimir Komlev, CEO of the Russian National Payment Card System.
Each year, more than 40 million Russian tourists visit Europe. It is anticipated that the Russian payment system will make it easier for merchants to transact with Russian consumers.
“Demonstrating the potential of Russia’s financial services abroad is extremely important,” Boris Abramov, Russian trade representative in the U.K., told RT. He added that he would help to connect U.K. businesses to the MIR payment network.
MIR is “a solid cross-border payment system,” PayXpert said. The payment option is expected to appeal to the more than 147 million potential Russian customers.
Russian banks have issued more than 69.7 million MIR cards since the payment network was introduced in 2014 following the threat of U.S. sanctions. At that time, restrictions caused some Russian banks to be temporarily blocked from using Visa and Mastercard.
In July, Visa said it would comply with a Russian law mandating that international payments systems have to process transactions for the country regardless of U.S. sanctions. Visa said Russia is an important market for the company in terms of strategy.
At the time, Head of the State Duma Financial Market Committee Anatoly Aksakov said that when international payment systems change their rules to align with Russia’s mandates, everything will continue normally. In the event of a violation, Aksakov said, the organization in question will be fined just as if it were a Russian firm.