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Kazakhstan does not need its own payment system: experts 26 июля 2014, 12:39

Experts believe that Kazakhstan does not need its own payment system and doesn't have the conditions to effectively introduce it.
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©Yaroslav Radlovsky ©Yaroslav Radlovsky

Kazakhstan does not need its own payment system like Visa or MasterCard and doesn't have the conditions to effectively implement it at this point, Aivar Baikenov, head of the Analytics Department at Asyl-Invest brokerage company said, Tengrinews reports.

In March this year, Visa and MasterCard blocked card transactions for U.S.-sanctioned Russian banks amid the crisis in Ukraine. In early May Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to estblish Russian national payment system. Moreover, the new law obliged foreign payment systems to pay 25 percent of their average daily incomes from transactions at the Russian territory to a special account in Russia's Central Bank starting from July 1.

Later, Russia eased the conditions for foreign credit card firms that had a local partner in Russia or attained the status of a nationally significant payment system. To obtain the status the firms had to stop disclosing information on Russian transactions and relocate their processing centers to Russia before October 31.

With all these developments in place, the matter of creating its own payment system became a heatedly discussed topic in Kazakhstan. And Governor of Kazakh central bank even said that the regulator was working to create one.

Creation of Kazakhstan's own system could mitigate the risks that have manifested themselves in Russia this year, after sanctions were imposed and American Visa and MasterCard payment systems limited their activities, Baikenov said.

Mr. Baikenov said that a single payment system could be set up within the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. However, it would take some time before those cards would become usable abroad. "This will require a great deal of work to create the infrastructure, and it is very costly," he said.

As for Kazakhstan alone, "creation of a payment system in a country with minute use of cards and non-cash payments and with small population is not feasible," Aivar Baikenov concluded.

According to Anton Soroko, analyst at Finam investment company, Russia's leading brokerage firm, creation of Kazakhstan's own payment system was not something very important, because the West imposed no sanctions against Kazakhstan, and "there is no risk of termination of customer service by international payment systems," he said.

But he agreed, that in the long run, availability of Kazakhstan's own payment system could increase the country's attractiveness for investors and foreign capital, and stimulate business activities. "To begin with, it may be a good idea for Kazakhstan to establish close cooperation with our Japanese and Chinese colleagues, who already have similar national solutions," the analyst said. There is also a possibility that in a few years the Kazakh payment system will be cooperating with the new Russian payment system, and it will become possible to expand the Russian national payment system into the territory of Kazakhstan, he said.

"I think that if Kazakhstan shows some real interest in participating in this project, Russian will be positive about it. It won't be a problem to attach Kazakh banks to the system. The more users there are, the better it is for Russia, " Anton Soroko concluded.

Reporting by Azhar Ashirova, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina.

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