ArmInfo. The national payment card system (NPCS), which is the operator of the Russian card "Mir", and the Armenian Card (ArCa) payment system are preparing to issue co-brand cards in Armenia. This is stated in The Rambler News Service reported citing a representative of the Central Bank of the Republic.
The technical possibility of issuing such cards is available to all 15 banks operating on the ArCa infrastructure. "The project of intersystem interaction assumes mutual acceptance of cards of national payment systems in the infrastructures of two countries: ArCa cards in Russia, Mir cards in Armenia, and the issue of joint ArCa-Mir cards," said the representative of the regulator.
Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia, Olga Skorobogatova, in her turn, reported that the "Mir" card can be accepted on the territory of Armenia until the end of 2017. In April, the NPCS also announced the beginning of negotiations on accepting "Mir" cards in the Kingdom of Thailand. According to the company representatives, this will simplify the payment process for tourists. Last year, more than a million Russian citizens visited the country.
"Mir" is the Russian national payment system. The need to create such a system arose in the summer of 2014, when Visa and MasterCard, due to US sanctions against Russia, stopped servicing the cards of a number of Russian banks.
To note, on June 3, 2016 an agreement of intent was signed between Armenian Card CJSC (operator of Armenia's payment system ArCa) and JSC NPCS (operator of the Russian payment system Mir), providing for mutual servicing of ArCa and Mir cards in Payment infrastructures of their participants. Pilot launch of the project on the compatibility of the Armenian and Russian payment systems Armenian Card and "Mir" is planned by the end of summer 2017.
According to the Armenian Card, participants of the Armenian NPS are 15 banks of 17 operating in the market. In particular, Mellat Bank, the daughter of the Iranian bank Mellat, and Armswissbank, specializing in investment banking and not issuing cards, were not a participant at that time. But Armswissbank applied for membership in ArCa in early 2017 and received confirmation, and now only the daughter of the Iranian bank Mellat is not a member of the system.
According to the Central Bank of Armenia, as of January 1, in the system there were 1570758 active cards (with an annual decline by 9.1% after growth by 6.5% a year earlier). Of this amount, national cards ArCa amounted to 521273 pcs. (With an annual decline by 5% after growth by 0.4% a year earlier).