Mir (payment system)

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IndustryFinancial services
Founded2015; 7 years ago (2015)
Headquarters11A Bolshaya Tatarskaya str., ,
Area served
Accepted in:
ProductsDebit cards, Credit cards, payment systems
  • Mir Pay
  • Mir Secure
ParentPJSC NSPK (100% owned by the Central Bank of Russia)

Mir (Russian: Мир, IPA: [ˈmʲir]; lit.'world' or 'peace') is a Russian payment system for electronic fund transfers established by the Central Bank of Russia under a law adopted on 1 May 2017.[1] The system was developed by Belgian digital payments company OpenWay and is operated by the Russian National Card Payment System [ru], a wholly owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Russia.[2] Mir does not itself issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers; rather, Mir provides financial institutions with Mir-branded payment products that they then use to offer credit, debit, or other programs to their customers. The development and implementation of Mir was spurred by the imposition of international sanctions against Russia in 2014[3] to circumnavigate the reliance on the likes of Visa and Mastercard.


Mir, as an idea, was born out of a series of joint initiatives between the Central Bank of Russia and the World Bank in the mid-2000s that aimed to create a framework of an autonomous payment processing system inside the Russian Federation.[4] While development was nearing completion, the Global Financial Crisis put further activity on indefinite hold.

Mir cards were initially accepted mostly by Russia-based companies, such as Aeroflot and Russian Railways, but it gradually became popular among foreign companies with operations in Russia.[5] In April 2016, AliExpress became the first foreign company to accept Mir as a form of payment within the Russian Federation,[5] and McDonald's was the first U.S. company to accept it three months later.[3]

The system was developed by Belgian digital payments company OpenWay, which created a subsidiary in Russia called OpenWay Solutions, to meet Russian government requirements.[6]

On the basis of the initial groundwork, Mir as a system was formalized in 2014 as a way to overcome potential blocks of electronic payments, after several Russian banks were denied services by US-based Visa and MasterCard because of the sanctions regime against them.[7]

The first cards working on the Mir system were launched in December 2015.[8] Sberbank, Russia's leading bank, started issuing them in October 2016.[9] Six months later, in July 2016, McDonald's became the first U.S. company to accept Mir for payment in the Russian Federation.[3] By the end of 2016, 1.76 million Mir cards had been issued by 64 banks;[10] five years later, by the end of December 2021, over 113.6 million cards were in circulation.[11] In 2020, 3.5 billion payments were issued using Mir, an increase of 75% over the previous year.[12] In March 2021, the payment system announced a ban on the replenishment of foreign electronic wallets, as it considered such operations as high-risk.[13]

2022 financial sanctions and their consequences[edit]

In March 2022, as a result of international sanctions during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Apple digital wallet services Apple Pay stopped supporting Mir cards.[14]

The 2022 exit of Visa and MasterCard from the Russian market resulted in increased use of the Russian Mir payment system in the Russian Federation[15] and beyond at a time when their combined penetration accounted for 70% of the Russian consumer credit card market.[16] Their cease of operations in Russia represented a 1.5 billion USD annual revenue loss to the two financial services giants.[17] The result was a sharp increase in the number of Mir cards issued. As of April 1, 2022, the number of Mir-compliant cards in circulation exceeded 125 million, an increase of 10.3% from the previous quarter.[18] That sudden and sharp increase in demand created shortage of chips for MIR cards.[19] It is estimated that banks' demand for card chips is six times higher than production capacity of their only domestic manufacturer Mikron Group.[20]


The Russian Federation[edit]

Mir is mainly promoted by the Russian government, with legislation that came into force on 1 May 2017 mandating that all welfare and pension payments be processed through the system by January 2018.[1][21] Banks were reluctant to issue them, as they feared that their cost might be higher compared to cards belonging to more established payments systems.[22][23][24]

Acceptance in other countries[edit]

As of 26 July 2022, MIR is used in ten countries:

  1. Armenia (2018)
  2. Belarus
  3. Kazakhstan
  4. Kyrgyzstan
  5. Tajikistan
  6. Turkey (2019)
  7. Uzbekistan (2019)
  8. Venezuela (2022)
  9. Vietnam
  10. Cuba (2022)

The MIR cards can also be used in Abkhazia and South Ossetia since 2019, two territories that have been controlled by Russia since the Russo-Georgian War in 2008.[25]

The Mir system was introduced in Armenia in 2018 and in 2019 - in Russian-occupied Abkhazia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. In October 2021, Mir was launched in United Arab Emirates.

Before the Russian-Ukrainian War, Bulgaria and Thailand are expected to adapt MIR, according to Central Bank of Russia. Mir was also being tested in the United Kingdom and in South Korea. In March 2022, Iran was considering recognizing Mir to allow it to continue trading with Russia as due to sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, Russian banks were banned from the SWIFT system used globally.[26][27][28][29][30][31]


In 2021, India and Russia expressed interest in continuing dialogue on accepting RuPay Cards and Mir Cards within national payment infrastructures.[32]


In April 2022, Cuba made the decision to allow Mir cards. Juan Carlos Escalona, ​​tourism advisor to Cuba's embassy in Moscow, indicated that visitors from Russia will be able to pay for services in Cuba with Mir cards once flights resume between both countries.[33]

On 26 July 2022, ATMs in Cuba began to accept Russia's Mir payment cards, Juan Carlos Escalona, adviser to the embassy of the republic on tourism, told the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR).[34][35]

Sri Lanka[edit]

In May 2022, Sri Lankan ambassador to Russia Janita Abeivikrema Liyanage said that Sri Lankan authorities are working to ensure that the Mir cards are among the cards that can be used upon arrival in their country. “This issue has been resolved. This year it will work".[36]


On 27 July 2022, Iran will soon start accepting payments made with Russia's Mir bank cards, a top official was quoted by Russia's RIA news agency as saying.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Путин подписал закон об обязательном переводе бюджетников на карты "Мир"". Interfax.ru (in Russian). 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  2. ^ "The Bank of Russia issues warning over Mir payment cards". Russia Beyond The Headlines. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Ogurtsova, Yevgeniya (11 July 2016). "McDonald's first U.S. business to accept Russia's new Mir payment card". United Press International. Archived from the original on 27 February 2022.
  4. ^ Financial Sector Assessment Program, Russian Federation: Technical Note, Financial Inclusion Jennifer Chien, Mai Nguyen, Matthias Timm, and Marco Traversa. The World Bank. July 2016. Accessed 27 February 2022. Archived.
  5. ^ a b "AliExpress First Foreign Company to Accept Russia's Mir Payment Cards". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on 27 February 2022. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Russia's Mir payment cards to give Visa and MasterCard a run for their money".
  7. ^ "McDonald's first U.S. business to accept Russia's new Mir payment card". UPI. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Seven Russian banks start issuing first cards of Mir payment system". www.thepaypers.com. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Sberbank launches servicing of Mir payment cards". Russia Beyond The Headlines. 20 September 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  10. ^ "About 20 mln Mir cards may be issued next year in Russia". TASS (in Russian). Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  11. ^ "mir website".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "mir website press release".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ ""Мир" запретит пополнять со своих карт иностранные электронные кошельки" (in Russian). banki.ru. 2021-03-01.
  14. ^ Osipovich, Alexander; Andriotis, AnnaMaria (25 March 2022). "Apple, Google Cut Ties to Russia's Mir Payment Cards". The Wall Street Journal.
  15. ^ "Visa and Mastercard suspend Russian operations". BBC.
  16. ^ "How U.S.-Russia tensions could hurt Visa, Mastercard". American Banker.
  17. ^ "Mastercard, Visa and PayPal miss out on combined $2.4 billion in revenue due to Russia-Ukraine conflict, says GlobalData". GlobalData.
  18. ^ "Количество выданных карт "Мир" выросло с начала года на 10%". Mir (payment system) (in Russian).
  19. ^ "There is a shortage of chips for MIR cards in Russia".
  20. ^ "Потребность банков в картах в 6 раз превысила объем производства "Микрона"" (in Russian).
  21. ^ "Top Russian Banks Lobby Against Forced Use of Kremlin's Mir Payment Card". Moscow Times. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  22. ^ News, East-West Digital (20 June 2016). "National bank card MIR soon accepted ubiquitously in Russia in spite of security and financial challenges". East-West Digital News. Retrieved 3 February 2017. {{cite web}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  23. ^ Колебакина, Дмитрий Катаргин, Елена. ""Карта "Мир" – это такая советская ситуация, когда "счастье" навязывается сверху..."". БИЗНЕС Online (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  24. ^ "Банки объяснили причины высокой стоимости национальной платежной карты". РБК. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  25. ^ Russia enforces MIR card adoption in new countries
  26. ^ "Карта "Мир" сблизила Южную Осетию с остальным миром". AlaniaInform (in Russian). Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  27. ^ "Russia, Iran discuss recognition of Mir cards, bypassing SWIFT".
  28. ^ "Russia, Iran consider adopting financial payment system beyond SWIFT". 25 March 2022.
  29. ^ "İş Bank first Turkish bank to accept Russian payment system MIR". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  30. ^ "UZCARD and MIR agreed on issuing Co-badged cards". Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  31. ^ "Карты платёжной системы Мир стали принимать в ОАЭ" (in Russian). Интерфакс. 2021-10-05.
  32. ^ "India- Russia Joint Statement following the visit of the President of the Russian Federation". mint. 7 December 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  33. ^ "Cuban Regime Will Allow Use of MIR Cards, the Russian Alternative to Visa and MasterCard". 23 April 2022.
  34. ^ "ATMs in Cuba begin to accept Mir payment system cards". Interfax. 26 July 2022.
  35. ^ "Cuba starts accepting Russia's Mir payment cards — ATOR". 26 July 2022.
  36. ^ "Popular resort among Russians will start accepting Mir cards" (in Russian). 5 May 2022.
  37. ^ "Iran to start accepting Russian Mir payment cards soon -official". Reuters. 27 July 2022.

External links[edit]

Media related to MIR (credit cards) at Wikimedia Commons