Using one’s credit card abroad is on the verge of getting easier for Russians. The National Payment Card System of Russia, responsible for regulating Russia’s popular Mir Card, is in talks with Mastercard to reach a bilateral agreement whereby Mir cards would be accepted throughout the world at all Mastercard terminals.
If the two sides reach a final agreement, Russia is ready to produce over 40 million cards bearing both the Mir and Mastercard brands.
After sanctions passed on Russia by western countries in 2014, including the US where Mastercard is based, many feared that Russians would not be able to use their Visa and Mastercards at home. Because of this, Mir card was introduced for the domestic market and after a few short years has been a considerable success.
Because of continued western geo-political hostility towards Russia and the fact that most international financial corporations are US based, it was essential for Russia to achieve financial independence due to the unreliability of what the Russian government calls its western ‘partners’.
Still though, Russians should not be inconvenienced when travelling abroad and because of this, the proposed agreement between Mastercard and Mir will be an important step in normalising relations on both sides of the political divide, a divide which is bad for business and bad for ordinary people everywhere.