Russia, India to create RuPay – Mir connectivity

Wednesday 24 August 2022 12:37 CET | News

The Russian and Indian Governments have gotten closer to an agreement to have cards based on Russia’s Mir payment system be accepted at ATMs and POS in India.


The negotiations between the two nations have developed with the purpose of building a financial system which would not be affected by Western sanctions on Russia. Under this goal, Russia is working to facilitate the acceptance of India's RuPay payment system. The mutual acceptance of RuPay and Mir cards within the national payment infrastructures of the two nations will reportedly make it easier for visitors from Russia to India and vice versa to make payments using the cards without any hassle. 

A source in New Delhi cited by Deccan Herald revealed that the mutual acceptance of Mir and RuPay cards for easier use of the cards by Russian and Indian visitors in each other’s countries was among the issues discussed during recent engagements between the two nation. The two countries are working on facilitating the interaction of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and the Faster Payments System (FPS) of the Bank of Russia. 

Mir card acceptance in other countries

Turkey has already begun accepting Russia's Mir cards. In August 2022, five Turkish banks have adopted Russia’s Mir payments system, according to Bloomberg. As Mastercard and Visa have halted operations in Russia, Mir card payments will allow Russian tourists to pay for their purchases in Turkey.

In China, Credit Bank of Moscow - MKB and Bank DOM.FR have announced that they are preparing to issue UnionPay cards starting with Q1 2023. DOM.RF plans to start issuing UnionPay cards that will be co-branded the existing Russian Mir card. Additionally, Russia’s Industrial & Commercial Bank (ICB) is considering the possibility of issuing cards through the China’s UnionPay system as well.

Mir bank cards have also been considered by Iran to start accepting payments made with them, as per a Reuters report from July 2022. The same source cited South Korea and Cuba also recently starting to accept Mir, along with the United Arab Emirates. The cards also work in tourist destinations Vietnam, and some former Soviet republics.

Crossing more into the African continent, Nigeria’s ambassador to Russia, Abdullahi Shehu, has announced that Nigeria and Russia are discussing the possibility of using the Russian Mir payment system cards in the African country in July 2022. 

According to Deccan Herald, Mir can also be used in 10 other nations, including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. Apart from India, Russia is in talks with China, Egypt, Myanmar, Thailand, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Cuba for acceptance of the card.

The Russian and Indian Governments are finalising an accord to have cards based on Russia’s Mir payment system be accepted at ATMs and POS in India

Expansion strategy for Mir after European sanctions

Russia established its National Payment Card System in July 2014 after the US imposed sanctions on it following its annexation of Crimea. The Mir card was launched in December 2015. Its use witnessed a visible increase this year as the US and other and other western nations imposed tougher sanctions on Russia after President Vladimir Putin started the war in Ukraine.

After the war started, the EU enforced a new list of economic sanctions against Russia, one of the most important being the exclusion 7 major Russian banks - Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Rossiya Bank, Sovcombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), and VTB Bank – from The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a secure messaging system for banks, which facilitates rapid cross-border payments. 

A slew of relevant private companies, including most major card issuers such as Visa and Mastercard ceased Russian operations, which led to the country finding alternative payments channels.

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Keywords: Russia Ukraine War, financial sanctions, UPI, cross-border payments
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Mir
Countries: India, Russian Federation
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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