The past few months have seen unparalleled interest in the future of payments in Russia. Alongside some of the developments we expected, like MasterCard’s new partnerships, there were also developments that were not anticipated, including the introduction of new legislation. As so many before us, we have realized when the road ahead looks difficult it is time to re-evaluate the route being travelled and in many ways that is what MasterCard has been doing here in Russia over the last couple of months.
Our goal during this period has been to continue to deliver world class electronic payments in Russia. Throughout this period, our message has been clear – we share the Russian government’s goal of moving more transactions from cash to electronic payments but not at any cost. We share this vision not just because it is good for MasterCard’s business but because it is better for Russia. The alternative to a robust and healthy electronic payments network is cash and cash is bad for business, bad for the economy and bad for consumers.
I am pleased to say that we have made good progress on a way forward, which includes a delay to the introduction of the security deposit, while we work to meet broader provisions. The first step MasterCard has taken in meeting these provisions has been to look for Russian companies that can deliver switching and processing of MasterCard-branded transactions in Russia. To do that we launched a Request for Proposal (RFP) and we are pleased that almost 20 Russian companies have responded to the RFP. Over the coming weeks we will work to identify the best possible partner for these services.
Our priority remains focused on ensuring our customers and cardholders have access to the best possible payments system and we will do this in a way that minimizes disruption while maximizing the user experience.