Russian payment system Mir has launched a contactless payment service MirPay, the National System of Payment Cards (NSPK) announced on March 4. The application will be available for Android smartphone using clients of Russian Agricultural Bank, Centr-Invest, SMP bank, Rossiya Bank, the Moscow Credit Bank, Promsvyazbank, and the Russian National Commercial Bank.
By the end of the year the contactless payment would be available in any POS-terminal ready to receive contactless payment, NSPK claims. The new service is likely to gain popularity given the growing number of card transactions and high mobile penetration in Russia.
The Mir card payment and NSPK national payment system was created by the CBR in 2015 to cut reliance on Western payment systems under pressure from sanctions.
Both Visa and MasterCard were forced to cut ties with a number of Russian banks in 2014 that were subject to US sanctions imposed over Russia's actions in Ukraine, starting with the annexation of Crimea. At the time, these companies had processed 90% of all payments in Russia.
Although initially resisted by the banks, the Mir payment card has gathered momentum with 176 local lenders adopting the system as of January 2017, and 97% of ATMs and over 75% of payment terminals accepting the card.