Will MIR card become mandatory for acceptance by all merchants?
20.01.2016 403 views
The Central Bank of the Russian Federation has prepared a draft law to make acceptance of the national payment card MIR mandatory for all merchants in the country - regardless of their turnovers, Russian media reported.
“The mandatory acceptance of Mir cards by all merchants to accept will help increase non-cash payment volumes and make “plastic” popular,”- noted a source at the Central Bank. He said that a similar general obligation in regard to the national card BelKart was introduced in Belarus in February 2014”.
Applicable Russian laws oblige banks to ensure acceptance of the Mir card by all merchants with an annual turnover of 120 million rubles. Retailers that fail to ensure card payments are subject to a fine of 30-50 thousand rubles. (part 4 of Article 14.8 of the RF Administrative Code). Rospotrebnadzor (Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing) was to fine violators starting from 1 January 2015.
The press office of the agency did not answer media’s inquiry to the point; there is still no information on Rospotrebnadzor’s website about inspections of retail outlets for the period from that date to the present time. Accordingly, there is no certainty about the date when the sanctions are to be imposed on the merchants that fail to accept the national payment card. A source at the Central Bank notes that the new draft law provides for POS-terminals to be installed by all merchants in Russia installed. So, individual entrepreneurs and shops with a turnover of less than 120 million rubles will also have to sign acquiring agreements with the banks.
The press service officers of the Central Bank just noted that “merchants cannot be connected by the banks to the Mir payment system immediately – it will certainly take time.” Officials from the Central Bank and the NPCS pointed out that monitoring of merchants activities and imposing sanctions on violators are within the prerogative of Rospotrebnadzor.
Interestingly, the bankers are ready to install the terminals at merchant locations and in cafés free of charge - but the individual entrepreneurs and stores will have to pay an acquiring fee to banks (up to 1.5% of each transaction amount) under agreements. The Central Bank previously intended to limit this fee by 1%, but the idea has not been implemented yet.