July 1 Card companies Visa Inc and
MasterCard Inc may be able to avoid paying heavy security
deposits to operate in Russia if they can find local processing
partners by the end of October, Russian media outlets reported.
Visa's shares rose 2 percent to a two-month high of $215.34
in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, while
MasterCard's stock rose 3.1 percent to $75.74.
"The companies have been offered to transfer processing of
internal Russian transactions to any nationally important
payment system by Oct. 31," Central Bank of Russia Chairwoman
Elvira Nabiullina was quoted as saying by Russian news agency
"If they succeed in doing it by Oct. 31, then the pledges
will be minimized to zero."
New rules following Western sanctions over Ukraine required
foreign card companies to deposit with the central bank an
amount equal to two days of their average processing volume in
Analysts had estimated that Visa and MasterCard could end up
paying up to $2.9 billion to operate in the country.
Visa and MasterCard had considered quitting Russia after
President Vladimir Putin signed the rules into law in early May,
but the companies said they would stay after officials showed
willingness to relax the requirements.
A law that came into effect on Tuesday prohibits foreign
companies from blocking transactions of Russian banks. The law
is part of a new legislation aimed at setting up a domestic
payment system to reduce the country's dependency on foreign
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti