15 Jun 2023 13:43

CBR not opposed to creation of competitor to Mir card, but market participants must calculate financial benefits

ST. PETERSBURG. June 15 (Interfax) - The Russian Central Bank is not opposed to the creation of a competitor to the Mir card by other market participants, but they should calculate the financial benefits, Central Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina said on the sidelines of SPIEF.

Leading banks are discussing the creation of a second major player in the payment market. The appearance of a competitor to the Mir card will make it possible to compare quality of services and influence pricing.

"I am always well-disposed towards competition, and in my opinion, there's not enough of it; we must develop it. Something was said about competitors to the Mir card, this approach is a little outdated. Because at the moment, there not so much competition between one card or another, but rather competition between different ways of payment. There is the Quick Payment System, the banks' own payment services via QR-codes, different procedures, Nabiullina said.

"Competition has intensified, but I have nothing against it if market participants decide to create additional means of payment or cards, but they should understand for themselves how financially profitable this is, instead of developing other competing services. In my opinion, the Mir card works fine. As far as pricing is concerned, the Mir card did not increase rates after the departure of international payment systems, and these rates themselves were lower than those of international payment systems, when they operated in the market," she said.

Generally, it would be good if the National Payment Card System [NSPK, the operator of the Mir card, owned by the Bank of Russia] were sold to market participants, as originally intended, or another market player appeared, Sberbank chairman German Gref said.

"Sometimes they talk about the privatization of the NSPK; the law envisions this possibility. In our opinion, it is premature to do so, because the task of the NSPK is to develop nationwide infrastructure solutions that can be used by everyone," Nabiullina said.

"If it is a private monopoly, it will be worse, because the services will be developed in the interests of private shareholders, even if there are several of them, but it is unlikely to lead to the development of a national infrastructure. There could be a conflict of interest, if the owners want to be financial companies that use this infrastructure, and other owners won't use it," she said.