The Kremlin wants to set up a Russian credit card system to reduce a reliance on Western-based companies and in response to US and European sanctions over Crimea.
That comes after Visa and MasterCard stopped processing payment transactions for clients at some Russian banks under under US sanctions.
On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin told senior Russian lawmakers during a meeting on integrating the Crimea region that the western credit card firms are actually hurting their own interests:
Refering obliquely to the sanctions, Putin said: “It is really too bad that certain companies have made a decision about some well known restrictions. I think this will simply cause them to lose certain segments of the market – a very profitable market. Well, this is not our decision. We have to protect our interests, and we will do it.”
The Crimea confrontation has prompted Moscow to look for ways to reduce reliance on the West.
Russian bank officials said a homegrown payment card system could be up and running within six month.
However, it would not be accepted outside Russia restricting its use for those travelling abroad.
But most Russians will not be worried by credit card restrictions as the majority of transactions in the country are in cash or with debit. In a country of 143 million there are just 30 million credit cards in use according to figures compiled by Euromonitor International.