Visa and MasterCard may withdraw from the Russian market due to possible changes in legislation.

International payment systems Visa and MasterCard may stop working in the territory of the Russian Federation if the State Duma approves amendments to the law “On the National Payment System”, which will be considered at the end of this month.

APDATE: The Bank of Russia said that the adoption of the amendments does not threaten the work of international payment systems in the territory of the Russian Federation. Visa representatives said they would continue to provide uninterrupted non-cash payments in the country, and also refused to comment on “third-party judgments about possible future events based on assumptions.”

In particular, these are amendments that provide for a ban on subsidiaries of international payment systems in Russia to suspend settlements on bank cards at their own discretion. For example, when it comes to financial organizations subject to international sanctions.

The bill introduces the concept of “foreign payment system”, which is spelled out in such a way that international systems that are registered with the Central Bank do not fall under it. Accordingly, they will be considered simple payment systems, which, according to the amendments, may prohibit suspending or terminating participation in the payment system of a bank.

Currently, the register of operators of payment systems of the Central Bank consists of subsidiaries of such companies as Visa, MasterCard, China Union Pay, JCB and others.

Nevertheless, according to experts, for such international systems to bring the rules into line with the requirements of the Russian authorities is simply impossible and, most likely, this will lead to the departure of such companies from the Russian market.

“Firstly, simply from a legal point of view, a subsidiary cannot fail to comply with the rules and requirements of the parent organization. Secondly, the reasons for excluding banks from the foreign payment system can be many and very different, ”said Maria Mikhailova, executive director of the National Payment Association.

The author of the bill was the head of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, Anatoly Aksakov. He noted that the amendments are aimed at “prohibiting any payment systems to prescribe in their rules the possibility of disconnecting Russian banks from conducting card settlements.”

The Central Bank believes that this approach will protect the interests of citizens of the Russian Federation, the financial infrastructure and Russian business. The Bank of Russia also noted that they are counting on the adoption of amendments “already in this session.”

It is worth noting that it was originally supposed that the bill would not be discussed until the autumn, but its consideration in the second reading was included in the calendar for July 23.

According to sources familiar with the situation of the publication, for large international payment systems, this was a very big surprise. Visa and MasterCard declined to comment.

180 days are given to bring the rules into compliance with the requirements put forward by the payment systems. In the event of non-compliance, the Russian subsidiary of the international payment system will first receive an order from the Central Bank, and then it may be removed from the register of payment system operators, which will effectively lead to a ban on working in the Russian Federation.

If the latter occurs, payments for already issued cards will pass through the National Payment Card System.

“The only way to hedge if you need to spend foreign currency is to stock up with cash. The second option is super complex is to use different cryptocurrencies. There is no third option, ”said the investment strategist of the financial group.

Recall that as part of the amendments to the law “On the National Payment System”, the State Duma may also require international payment systems to transfer the authentication function of bank customers for online payments to the National Payment Card System.

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