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Iran, Russia to connect national payments systems

Monday 22 May 2017 | 01:56 PM CET

Citizens of Russia and Iran will be able to use their national payment cards in both countries from late August, 2017.

The two countries have signed an agreement to integrate Iran’s national payment system, Shetab, with the Russian Mir system. Test transactions have already started and from August 22, ATMs in both countries will start accepting foreign cards.

Besides Russia, Iran plans to integrate its bank card system with payment systems from Japan, Azerbaijan and China. The Shetab banking network was launched in 2002 with the purpose to create a unified national payments and banking system. Iran wants to expand its payment network to other countries in the hope that it will boost tourism and cross-border business.

Russia’s Mir payment system was launched in 2014. Thanks to strong governmental backing, the system has become one of the most popular banking platforms in the country. Over 350 banks have joined the national payments network and half of them accept Mir cards in their payment terminals. Furthermore, a recently signed presidential decree will require all state employees to be issued Mir payment cards. Retired workers are also expected to receive their pensions through the national banking system.

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