Venezuela to integrate Russian Mir payments

Tuesday 27 June 2023 13:53 CET | News

The government of Venezuela has announced that it plans to integrate Mir, a Russian electronic card and transfer payments system.

The announcement was backed by president Nicolas Maduro, who linked the decision to a larger de-dollarisation push. Maduro has previously emphasised the necessity of undertaking de-dollarisation initiatives, both within Venezuela and on a global scale. 

According to previous reports, representatives of the Central Bank of Venezuela have confirmed that the institution has finished the necessary procedures to ensure connectivity with the interbank messaging of the Central Bank of Russia. As a result, the Central Bank of Venezuela is now equipped to facilitate communication between Venezuelan banks and Russian banks via this network.

An electronic card and transfer payments system, Mir was established by the Central Bank of Russia in 2017, in an attempt to bypass the sanctions enacted against it in 2014 by credit card providers like Visa and Mastercard.

Authorities are taking measures to ensure the usability of Mir-compliant cards. According to reports, they are currently adapting over 40,000 payment terminals to be compatible with Mir cards. The president of the Central Bank of Venezuela has reportedly stated that the financial institution’s foreseeable goal is to ensure that 30% of the available terminals are connected to the Mir system so that they can accept cards issued by Russian banks and denominated in Rubles to make payments in the local currency.


The Venezuelan government has unveiled its plans to add Mir payments, a Russian payment solution, to its point-of-sale network.


The larger political context

When further detailing the reasoning behind the integration of Mir into Venezuela’s point-of-sale network, president Maduro explained this was part of a greater effort that seeks the development of a new global payment system that is distinct from the Western sanctions and the influence of the dollar. 

Earlier in 2023, during a visit from the Russian Foreign Minister to Venezuela, Venezuelan officials made the announcement that the two countries were collaborating to develop an alternative to SWIFT, the existing global payments system, in a bid to reportedly liberate Russia and Venezuela from the dominance of the US dollar and promote financial independence.

The announcement of the integration follows a series of US sanctions that have impacted the country. As suggested by the recent comments made by the president of the Central Bank of Venezuela, the integration of Mir might be used as a means to resolve international transactions. 

Economically speaking, Venezuela is currently experiencing high levels of inflation initially stemming from government-imposed cost controls and the dramatic decline in oil prices. According to data from Statista, the inflation rate in the country sits at 399.98%.

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Keywords: payments , payment processing, SWIFT, cross-border payments, inflation
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Mir
Countries: Venezuela
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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