17-Jun-19, HKTDC Research 

Trials of a new QR payment system are to begin in Russia at the end of Aug-19. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) indicated that, assuming the trial is a success, the scheme would ultimately be rolled out on a nationwide basis.

Russia trials low cost QR code based payment processing system (c) HKTDC Research

Image: HKTDC Research

The move has been seen as a further enhancement to the country's National Fast Payment and Clearance System, an initiative designed to ringfence Russia's financial system and reduce its reliance on the big US-based payment processing platforms, most notably Visa and MasterCard. With the concern being that the US-led sanctions may be extended to blocking such payments, Russia has scrambled in recent years to insulate itself from any such move.

In 2018 it introduced its proprietary take on the SWIFT international money transfer system, which would allow Russian funds to remain globally distributable even if Washington insists the country is denied access to the widely used channel.

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