Russia’s Alfa-Bank and Urals Bank for Reconstruction and Development (UBRD) have started tests of the National Payment Card System, representatives of the banks told PRIME on Monday.

“The connection to the system is not a fast procedure, this requires continuous efforts which are being carried out. There have been no difficulties by now,” Vice President of the UBRD Yury Mironov said.

SMP Bank, Bank Rossiya, Gazprombank and Rosbank said that they participate in the National Payment Card System launch but officials of the banks provided no further comments.
A law on national payment system’s establishment was passed on July 1, 2014, after Visa and MasterCard stopped servicing cards of some Russian banks as part of US and EU sanctions against the country.

A clearing center for the National Payment Card System will be created by the end of March 2015; market participants will be connected to the center in February-March, Deputy Director of one of the system’s departments Ramilya Kanafina said in November.