ArmInfo. It is early to speak of the plans of expanding Russian "Mir" payment system abroad, President of VTB24 Bank Mikhail Zadornov stated answering to ArmInfo's correspondent's question in Yerevan about the possibility of issue and acquiring of Russian "Mir" bank card on the territory of CIS countries. The banker noted that entering foreign markets is not yet a priority for NSPK (operator of Russian "Mir" payment system-ed. note), the most important thing is to ensure issue, servicing and acquiring of the cards in ATMs and large retail markets inside Russia.
At the same time he stressed that as Russian tourists inflow to such countries as Armenia and Georgia has significantly increased and keeps growing the bank will study the possibility of servicing "Mir" card holders by the bank's ATMs on the territories of these countries.
He informed that starting from October this year VTB's ATM network on the territory of Russia will service "Mir" cards. Besides, intensive work is being conducted on installing software and creating necessary infrastructure for ensuring card servicing in the largest retail networks of Russia, VTB's partners, including "Magnit", "Metro" and "Lenta", ensuring by this 70% card acquiring. Generally there is no intention yet to issue the "Mir" cards outside Russia.
The Head of VTB24 stressed that VTB Group will further work on expanding services of the cards, issued by the members of the group within international payment systems. Even today VTB Bank (Armenia) cards are serviced by ATMs of the Group without any fee within VTB integrated processing center, which is very convenient for the Group's clients. "It is very important to give VTB Bank Armenia cardholders a cross- border opportunity to use a whole range of services on the territory of Russia and vise versa. We will keep expanding card services and products based on wishes of our clients", the banker noted.
He informed that as of today VTB Bank covers 15% of Russia's payment card market, or 17-18% considering other partners within the Group. These indicators are close to the share, which VTB Bank (Armenia) holds on domestic market.
To note, according to the "Armenian Banks in Card Business" analytical review prepared by ArmInfo, VTB Bank (Armenia) retains leadership on the plastic cards market in terms of both the number of cards and amount of transactions. By 1 April 2016, the number of active cards of the Bank totaled 496.6 thsd, with the total amount of transactions exceeding 210.3 bln AMD over 2015. The Bank retains leadership by not only the total number of plastic cards but also by Visa cards - over 418.2 thsd as of 1 April 2016. At the same time, the Bank is among the TOP-3 by the number of MasterCards - over 78.3 thsd. Due to the serious (almost 5-fold) year-over-year growth in active MasterCards amid moderate (8.7%) rise in active Visa cards, VTB Bank (Armenia) increased the total number of active cards by 23.8%. As a result, the amount of transactions with cards grew by 12.8% over year, mostly due to the 21.3% growth in ATM transactions. VTB Bank (Armenia) is one of the leaders of Armenia's banking sector.
To recall, Armenian Card (operator of Armenia's ArCa payment system) and National System of Payment Cards-NSPK (Russian "Mir" payment system operator) signed an agreement of intent in early June in Yerevan. The sides agreed to ensure mutual servicing of ArCa and Mir payment systems in the payment infrastructures of their participants. General Manager of NSPK Vladimir Komlev stated during the ceremony of signing the agreement: "Armenia is a very important partner for us, with witch we launch a project valuable for the both systems. Our specialists will start solving required technological issues in the nearest future to launch mutual acceptance of the cards by our payment systems. We have also discussed the possibility of issuing co-badge cards "Mir"-ArCa, this will be the next step forward in our cooperation", he stressed.