Frequently Asked Questions

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    When was National Payment Card System established?

    National Payment Card System Joint Stock Company (NSPK JSC) was established on 23 July 2014. As early as 4 August 2014, NSPK started its operations.

    What are the National Payment Card System’s business challenges?

    An advanced national payment card system is the indicator of high level of the economy and financial system development, as well as the guarantee of business continuity.

    The Company mission: For all Russian citizens and for the State we create and develop payment services convenient, beneficial and available to all, whereby supporting the country’s sovereignty and setting up the industry standards.

    National Payment Card System (NSPK) faces the following key challenges:

    Creation of the Operational and Payment Clearing Centre to process domestic transactions performed with international payment systems’ cards.

    Due to the creation of an independent national transaction processing platform, any domestic transactions performed with international payment systems’ cards are processed in Russia only, but not abroad as was formerly the case.

    Issue and promotion of MIR national payment card

    A “homegrown” payment card guarantees development of national payment services and enables Russian citizens to receive card services in Russia regardless of any external factors.

    How long did it take to create the Payment System?

    In terms of the implementation period, NSPK (both as the Operational and Payment Clearing Center and as MIR Payment System operator) is a unique project. It took many years to create international payment systems, but, according to experts, it took at least 3 years to establish the National Payment System.

    Nevertheless, NSPK specialists proved the possibility of creating a reliable infrastructure to process domestic transactions with international payment systems’ cards in five months.

    What laws and regulatory legal acts govern the activities of National Payment Card System?

    The activities of NSPK JSC fully comply with the requirements of the Russian laws, and, in particular, with special provisions established by Federal Law No. 161-FZ On the National Payment System, Federal Law No. 86-FZ On the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia), Federal Law No. 112-FZ On Amendments to the Federal Law On the National Payment System and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation, Federal Law No. 319 On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation, Bank of Russia Ordinance No. 3493-U On Organization of Interaction and Receipt of Transaction Services and Payment Clearing Services for Money Transfers Using International Payment Cards dated 16 December 2014.

    The project is being implemented in accordance with the National Payment System Development Strategy and the National Payment Card System Concept approved by the NSPK Supervisory Board.


    Why did the Bank of Russia decide to establish the National Payment System on its own platform, but not on the basis of other existing platforms?

    In the run-up to the NSPK creation, a possibility of launching the National Payment System in the shortest possible time on the basis of payment system technologies already implemented in Russia was considered. It was assumed that this solution would minimize costs. However, at the meeting of the NSPK Technology Platform Selection Committee, representatives of the banking community and experts, having assessed the capabilities and drawbacks of the existing payment systems, indicated that the Payment System must be efficient, productive and keep up to the challenges set.

    The main reasons for the NSPK establishment on its “in-house” platform were the following:

    • the existing platforms did not have a number of critically important functional capabilities;

    • they contained superfluous functionality;

    • labor intensity and complexity of modification of the existing platforms were commensurable with the labor efforts required to create a proprietary platform; the use of platforms of the existing payment systems to create the National Payment System could lead to the construction of structurally unsound architecture.

    NSPK current track record

    A transaction processing platform, on which NSPK OPCC is based, was created, tested and implemented.

    All Russian banks that are members of international payment systems interact to perform processing and clearing via NSPK.

    The NSPK Fee Policy was reviewed and approved by the NSPK Council of Participants and Users, and by the NSPK Supervisory Board.

    Since February 2015, the NSPK Help Desk has been operating to support customers (banks and their processing centers). The service is available 24/7. Incoming requests are processed on a specially created portal: https://support.nspk.ru, by e-mail: css24@nspk.ru, and by phone: 8-800-500-00-05.           

    In December 2015, MIR Payment System was launched. The first MIR national payment cards were issued.

    As of the current date, all major Russian banking institutions have become MIR Participants and have deployed their acquiring networks (ATMs and POS-terminals) for MIR card acceptance, and have started MIR card issue. The current status of MIR card issue and acceptance is available at http://www.nspk.ru/cards-mir/uchastniki-ps-mir/

    How does NSPK ensure and guarantee uninterrupted and secure transaction processing?

    NSPK’s solutions for uninterrupted transaction processing:

    1. NSPK OPCC’s fail safety based on the distributed infrastructure (there is no single point failure both at the infrastructure level and the application level). 

    2. The ability to add processing power without interrupting the main production process.

    3. All elements of the technical and communications infrastructure are not subject to sanctions. NSPK uses Russian security systems, its software and source codes, as well as its internal development teams. It is also planned to use a proprietary ICC payment application compatible with international standards and formats.

    NSPK’s solutions for ensuring security:

    4. Financial security is ensured by performing settlement through the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. The impact of any external factors that could affect the expansion of MIR Payment System across the Russian Federation, including the Crimea and Sevastopol, is excluded.

    5. Operational risk management is performed by the team of top-notch professionals who are well-known to the banking community. Monitoring and control of computer systems that provide uninterrupted payment clearing services are performed by duty staff 24/7.

    6. A payment application ensuring a high level of transaction security.

    7. Protected information exchange between MIR Participants and NSPK OPCC.

    8. Use of the most advanced and secure key management procedures.

    What has changed for customers with the transition of international payment systems to the NSPK processing?

    The NSPK’s main task was to ensure that cardholders did not notice the transition of transaction processing to National Payment Card System. The cardholders retained their access to all international payment systems’ services in full without compromising the service quality.

    All domestic transactions performed with international payment systems’ cards are currently processed in Russia. Prior to the NSPK creation, information on all transactions performed with international payment systems’ cards by Russian citizens was processed in processing centers located abroad.

    Does NSPK OPCC comply with international standards?

    The NSPK OPCC’s software code is an exclusive Russian solution and a unique product that was specially dedicated for National Payment Card System and its Operational and Payment Clearing Center.

    When creating the Operational and Payment Clearing Center, all standards envisaged for international payment systems were met, i.e. security standards, format standards, standards for communication protocols, etc.

    Are there any national payment card systems in the world similar to NSPK?

    Today, national payment systems have been established and are operating successfully across the world.

    One of the largest systems is JCB International, a Japanese national payment system established in 1961. JCB rapidly took the lead in the global credit card market. Today, there are about 59 mln JCB cardholders, and cards of the Japanese national payment system are accepted for payment worldwide.

    Chinese UnionPay International is another example of a successful launch of the national payment system. UnionPay was established with the support of the Central Bank of the People’s Republic of China; over 200 financial institutions are among its shareholders. The Chinese payment system is an absolute leader in the world market in the number of cards issued, about 4 bln. They are accepted for payment in many countries of the world, including Russia.

    In 2008, RuPay, an Indian national payment system was established. A strategic task of its establishment was to ensure competition with Visa and MasterCard international payment systems in the Indian market. In 2013, only 5 years later, RuPay became international and is currently gaining more and more recognition.

    Interac Association was established in Canada in the mid-1980s to ensure secure exchange of electronic transactions. A year later, a number of such transactions reached 6.2 mln. A cooperation agreement with NYCE, an American company, made it possible for Interac to enter the international market.

    Payment systems have their own characteristics. The Canadian payment system mainly uses a cashless payment mechanism, while in Girocard, a German debit card network, transactions are possible only via terminals and ATMs. Co-branded cards with MasterCard and Visa logos are issued in Girocard.

    In France there is a payment card named Carte Bleue. Its creation by joint efforts of six major French banks enabled French citizens to perform transactions in their country without the cardholder’s authorization by the bank. Since 1973, Carte Bleue has been cooperating with Visa, which allowed it to be used outside of France.

    Bancomat, an Italian consortium established to coordinate entrepreneurial business, exercises control over the payment card system and enjoys the opportunity to monitor the flow of funds in the electronic field and other transaction channels. Bancomat is supported by all Italian banks, and the number of transactions reaches on average 1.65 bln a year.

    The countries neighboring with Russia, such as Belorus and Armenia, also have national payment systems, BELKART and ArCa, respectively.

    How does MIR card correspond to traditional payment systems?

    International payment systems continue to operate in Russia.

    NSPK as the third processor processes domestic transactions performed with international payment systems’ cards. International payment systems and MIR Payment System jointly implement various projects, including MIR co-badged cards issue. Such cards are accepted in Russia as MIR cards and abroad they are accepted in the entire acceptance network of the payment system in conjunction with which the card was issued.

    Despite some preferences provided for by law and granted to the National Payment System, it will develop under healthy competition with other payment systems.

    MIR fees

    The NSPK Fee Policy at large is aimed at creating economic conditions for development of retail cashless payments in Russia.

    The Fees are available at the MIR operator’s website.


  • Mir Payment System

    How will transfer of budget payments to MIR cards be made?

    In accordance with Federal Law No. 88-FZ On Amendments to Article 161 of the Russian Federation Law On Protection of Consumer Rights and Federal Law On the National Payment System, banks must issue MIR cards for public sector employees until 1 July 2018.

    The terms stated in the law for transferring budget payments to MIR cards are aimed at making it convenient for all payees. The first MIR cards will be issued for those who would like to be public sector employees or who will become pensioners from 1 July 2017.

    Within a year, until 1 July 2018, MIR cards will be issued to all public sector employees who are currently using international payment systems’ cards. New cards will retain the same service conditions as international payment systems’ cards.

    For pensioners, MIR cards will be issued gradually in accordance with the currently used card expiration date. This process will be completed before 1 July 2020. For pensioners, MIR card issue and service will be free of charge.

    For those who do not want to use bank cards and receive a pension or a salary in cash or on a non-PAN card account, the existing procedure will be retained.

    When were the first cards issued?

    The first MIR cards were issued in December 2015. Currently, many banks have started issuing MIR cards and accepting them in their terminal and ATM networks. For the exhaustive list of banks that have already started to accept and issue MIR cards, follow the link: http://www.nspk.ru/cards-mir/uchastniki-ps-mir/.

    What is a Mir Card?

    MIR is a Russian national payment card, modern and convenient. Its functionality includes all standard transactions, i.e. cash disbursement, cash-in, purchase transactions, including online ones.

    MIR is created on the basis of Russian technologies and meets all security standards, both Russian and international.

    What is MIR Payment System?

    MIR Payment System is a Russian national payment system.

    The System started its operations in December 2015, and the first MIR cards were issued at the same time.

    At present, all major Russian banks are acceded to MIR Payment System, many of which have already started to issue MIR cards and accept them in their ATM and terminal networks.

    MIR Payment System Official Website


    How do MIR cards differ from other payment systems’ cards?

    MIR is a national payment card developed taking into account the Russian market specifics. It has the same functionality as international payment systems’ cards, but its service fee is lower than that of the international payment systems’ cards.

    Access to your funds and performance of MIR transactions do not depend on international payment systems’ operations.

    In addition, a Loyalty Program will be launched in autumn for all MIR cardholders.

    Where can a MIR card be obtained?

    The exhaustive list of banks that have started issuing MIR cards is available at mironline.ru.

    The following largest federal and regional banks have already been issuing MIR cards:        

    o   Sberbank of Russia

    o   VTB24

    o   Gazprombank

    o   AK BARS Bank

    o   RNKB Bank

    o   Rossiya Bank

    o   SMP Bank

    o   Sviaz-Bank

    o   MDM Bank

    o   Raiffeisenbank

    o   Russian Agricultural Bank

    o   SIAB Bank

    o   Avangard Bank

    o   Vozrozhdenie Bank

    o   GENBANK

    o   Center-Invest Bank

    o   Levoberezhny Bank

    o   KS Bank, etc.

    How much is the annual service fee?

    Issuing banks individually determine their service fees. The fee also depends on the card type (Classic, Premium, Credit).

    However, it is worth noting that for a number of projects MIR cards can be issued free of charge, e.g., payroll, social or pension cards.

    For more details, please refer to the bank that has already started issuing MIR cards.

    Can MIR cards be used for online payments?

    Yes, they can.

    MIR cards are accepted online on the Aeroflot website, on the OZON Travel and Biletix travel agency portals, in the Mail.Ru Group projects (games, SNSs), on the MegaFon website (replenish the balance using Auto Payment service), etc. Look for the MIR Payment System’s logo in the Payment section.

    Is it safe to pay with the MIR card online?

    Yes, it is safe.

    All MIR online payments are protected by the MirAccept technology.

    Can MIR cards be used for payments abroad?

    MIR cards can be used for payments abroad. Currently, this service is implemented through co-badging projects, i.e. issue of co-badged cards with international payment systems.

    Banks have already started issuing co-badged cards with Maestro and JCB, i.e. Mir-Maestro and Mir-JCB. In Russia such cards are used as MIR cards, and in other countries they are accepted in Maestro and JCB international acceptance networks.

    Where are MIR cards accepted?

    Currently, proactive efforts are being taken to ensure merchants’ POS-terminals and ATMs to accept MIR cards.

    At present, payments with MIR cards can already be made in many large retail store chains throughout the country:        

    o   Metro Cash&Carry

    o   IKEA

    o   Auchan hypermarkets

    o   Globus hypermarkets

    o   Azbuka Vkusa supermarkets

    o   Billa supermarkets

    o   Victoria supermarkets

    o   Sportmaster chain stores

    o   McDonalds fastfood outlets (throughout Russia)

    o   Teremok fastfood outlets (Moscow and Moscow region)

    o   Jean-Jacques and De Marco cafes

    o   Karofilm and Formula Kino cinema theatres

    o   Wild Orchid lingerie chain stores

    o   Tele2 cellular phone stores (Moscow and Moscow region)

    o   Yves Rocher, L’Etoile, Ile de Beaute stores, etc.

    ATMs. MIR cards can be used for cash disbursement, cash-in, purchase transactions, etc. at ATMs belonging to the issuing bank.

    Can MIR cards be used in the Crimea?

    Crimean banks were one of the first to issue and accept MIR cards. Currently, MIR cards can be used throughout the entire Crimea for cash disbursement, cash in, and purchase transactions.

    Will contactless payments be available for MIR cards?

    Yes, contactless technology is implemented on MIR cards.

    Banks (e.g., Moscow Industrial Bank, SMP Bank, Center-Invest Bank, etc.) have already been issuing MIR contactless cards. For the possibility of issuing MIR contactless cards, address to the targeted bank.

    Will there be a mobile application for MIR Payment System?

    Yes, there will.

    In the second half of 2018, it is planned to present solutions that will enable MIR cardholders to use a cell phone as a payment card.

    Will there be bonus programs?

    Various bonus programs of issuing banks are already available for MIR cardholders. In the fall of 2017, MIR Payment System launched its loyalty program for MIR cardholders. The service enables MIR cardholders to choose the best offers of stores and brands, while business representatives can directly interact with customers. The loyalty program is based on a simple cash-back mechanism, i.e. a refund of a portion of money for purchases made with MIR cards at program partners, but not points or bonuses.

    Where can additional information on MIR cards and NSPK, the Payment System operator, be found?

    Detailed information on MIR cards, issuing banks, acceptance locations, etc. can be found at www.mironline.ru.

    All information on National Payment Card System (NSPK) is available at www.nspk.ru.

    How are MIR Payment System and NSPK related?

    National Payment Card System Joint Stock Company (NSPK JSC) is the MIR Payment System operator. NSPK ensures performance of transactions with both MIR and international payment systems’ cards. All domestic and international payment systems’ transactions performed in Russia are processed by NSPK Operational and Payment Clearing Centre. For creation of the Russian payment system, NSPK uses proprietary solutions and technologies that meet all international and Russian standards.

    An advanced national payment card system is an important indicator of the respective level of the economy and financial system development, as well as the guarantee of business continuity. National payment systems are established and successfully operate across the world (Japan, USA, China, India, Belarus, etc.).