The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) is currently working on developing payment gateways with foreign payment systems and is actively collaborating with Turkey in this area. Governor Elvira Nabiullina made this announcement during a meeting with lawmakers in the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament. The move comes as Russians visiting Turkey have been facing payment issues since Visa and Mastercard suspended their Russian operations as part of sanctions over the war in Ukraine. Additionally, Turkish banks stopped processing payments with Mir, the Russian National Card Payment System operator, after a U.S. warning that financial institutions working with CBR’s National Card Payment System could be involved in circumventing Russia sanctions.
Nabiullina stated that the CBR has built a system of gateways with foreign payment networks to enable payments between the two countries. However, she noted that the system does not work in all countries and alternative options are being discussed with each country individually. These options include using prepaid cards or cards issued by payment systems of the respective nations. Members of Turkey’s tourism industry have proposed launching cards that Russians can load with rubles and use during their stay in the country.
Russia has been considering ways to bypass financial restrictions imposed by the West over its invasion of Ukraine. One of the options being considered is the use of digital assets, including decentralized cryptocurrencies, which are yet to be comprehensively regulated in the country. During the meeting in the Duma, Nabiullina indicated that while the regulator remains opposed to crypto payments within the country, it is open to allowing international crypto settlements under experimental legal regimes. These will be conducted through authorized organizations and the scheme can work with other digital financial assets as well.
The CBR’s move to collaborate with Turkey on payment gateways is an effort to find alternative fiat payment options and use crypto in settlements. This move could pave the way for other nations to follow suit and develop their own payment gateways with Russia and other countries.
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