ArmInfo. ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, being one of the first partners of the Russian MIR payment system, announced the launch of the ArCa-MIR chip-based co- branded cards. As ArmInfo was told in the press service of the Bank, in Armenia this card will act as "ArCa", and on the territory of Russia - as a "MIR" card.
According to the source, MIR cards are already serviced at all ATMs of ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, and as for the POS-terminals installed at trade/service points, the Bank is already re-executing agreements with the partner network for activation of MIR card services and through its terminal network.
The "ArCa-MIR" card will allow to carry out transactions in Russia on more acceptable terms, as well as to conduct instant money transfers in the 24/7 mode. In particular, henceforth it will be possible from Russia at any time of the day through ATMs servicing the MIR card and having the function of taking cash (CASH-IN) to deposit the amount into a card account and in a few minutes to receive it in Armenia, or vice versa - through ATMs in Armenia and get it in Russia. Under this scheme, both the basic ArCa-MIR cards and the cards linked to them operate, the account of which is the same. Namely, the sender of the transfer in Russia puts the amount on the main card, and the recipient in Armenia through the linked card can cash it. It is noteworthy that ArCa-MIR cards will be provided to customers without payment for the first year of service, which gives the cardholder a good opportunity to try out the advantages of this card without additional costs.
Another advantage of this card is the currency exchange rate used for transactions in the MIR service network, in contrast to other payment systems, the currency exchange rate effective at the time of the transaction is applied, which enables clients to protect themselves against sharp fluctuations in exchange rates.
On July 7, 2017, the Central Bank of Armenia included the Russian national system of payment cards MIR in the register of active payment and settlement systems, and simultaneously gave permission to Armenian Card payment settlement to participate in the MIR system. The project of inter-system interaction assumes mutual acceptance of cards of national payment systems in the infrastructures of two countries: ArCa cards in Russia, cards "MIR" in Armenia. The project also provides for the production of ArCa-MIR co-branded (joint) cards. 16 banks operating on the ArCa infrastructure are technically able to issue such cards, and Ardshinbank (since September) and ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank (since October) have already begun issuing ArCa-MIR co-brand cards. The MIR-ArCa project is the first in the EEU area, which demonstrates the high level of Armenia-Russia cooperation, aimed at high-quality servicing of citizens of the two countries, increasing the volume of non-cash payments, and expanding the geography of plastic operations on the cards of national payment systems. The Eurasian Economic Union includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan.
The need to create a national payment system (NSP) on card MIR 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. On June 3, 2016, an agreement of intent was signed between Armenian Card CJSC (operator of Armenia's payment system ArCa) and JSC NSP (operator of the Russian payment system Mir), providing for mutual servicing of ArCa and Mir payment systems in payment infrastructures of their participants.
According to the analytical review "Armenian Banks in the Card Business" prepared by NA ArmInfo, ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank is among the top three in terms of the total number of active cards - about 196 thousand units, in TOP-3 - in the total volume of plastic transactions - 195.6 billion AMD for 2016, and among the three leaders the bank also appears in the volume of ATM transactions - over 161 billion AMD for 2016. According to the number of ATMs, the Bank occupies the 2nd position - 177 ATM, the number of POS terminals is held by 1582 pcs. ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank is included in the TOP-5 in terms of coverage of the branch network - 58 units.