30 July 2016
Find out more

WikiLeaks: US lobbied Russia for MasterCard and Visa

08 December 2010  |  12358 views  |  1 card chip

US officials lobbied Russia this year on behalf of MasterCard and Visa over concerns that planned legislation for a national payment card system would "disadvantage" American businesses, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks.

The state department cable from 1 February, entitled 'Russian draft bill would require on-shore credit card processing', outlines concerns on the planned law for a Russian National Payments System.

The draft law would have seen the creation of a national payment card system (NPCS), operated by a consortium of state-owned banks, processing payments for all members, collecting an estimated $4 billion a year in fees.

According to the cable, Visa's public relations head in Russia, Dmitriy Vishnyakov, told the US that Russia's plan follows the "China model" on payment card systems.

Currently, Visa and MasterCard have around 85% of the Russian payment card market. They would both have the option of joining the NPCS but would not have any role in domestic transaction processing - which accounts for the bulk of revenues in the country - although they could co-brand and process payments made abroad.

The cable says that if they choose not to join the NPCS, the American firms will have to embark on the expensive exercise of setting up their own on-shore processing centres.

The draft law says the companies would have one year to set up these centres with a ban on sending abroad payment data for purely domestic transactions becoming effective two years after the law enters into force.

Vishnyakov suggests that Russian security services assume that "US payment systems routinely share data associated with payment transactions by Russian cardholders with intelligence services in the US and elsewhere".

The Visa man even suggests that the requirements "would entail so much expense and difficulty for Visa and MasterCard that the two companies might quit the Russian domestic market".

The cable concludes: "While the draft legislation has yet to be submitted to the Duma and can still be amended, post will continue to raise our concerns with senior GOR officials. We recommend that senior USG officials also take advantage of meetings with their Russian counterparts, including through the Bilateral Presidential Commission, to press the GOR to change the draft text to ensure U.S. payment companies are not adversely affected."

This week MasterCard and Visa have both moved to stop donations to WikiLeaks - allegedly under political pressure.

PayPal, which had originally said that the WikiLeaks' account had violated its terms of services when it stopped processing payments on its behalf last week, has since admitted government involvement in the issue.

Comments: (1)

Dean Procter
Dean Procter - Transinteract - Sydney | 08 December, 2010, 21:28

Buy your wikileaks secret US diplomatic cables on Amazon and pay with Visa or Mastercard..


I hope no Americans call for violence against Amazon et al.

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
Comment on this story (membership required)

Finextra news in your inbox

For Finextra's free daily newsletter, breaking news flashes and weekly jobs board: sign up now

Related stories

WikiLeaks: Hackers humble MasterCard; IT firm threatens to sue Visa Europe

WikiLeaks: Hackers humble MasterCard; IT firm threatens to sue Visa Europe

08 December 2010  |  16908 views  |  2 comments | 1 tweets
WikiLeaks: Merkel furious at MEPs over Swift data sharing deal rejection

WikiLeaks: Merkel furious at MEPs over Swift data sharing deal rejection

06 December 2010  |  13774 views  |  0 comments
Major US bank next in line for WikiLeaks

Major US bank next in line for WikiLeaks

30 November 2010  |  13168 views  |  4 comments
US files WTO case against China over access to card market

US files WTO case against China over access to card market

17 September 2010  |  8602 views  |  0 comments
Visa tussles with China UnionPay

Visa tussles with China UnionPay

03 June 2010  |  9214 views  |  0 comments

Related company news


Related blogs

Create a blog about this story (membership required)
Visit VocaLink.comVisit capgemini.comFind out more

Who is commenting?

Top topics

Most viewed Most shared
Groupe BPCE agrees to buy FidorGroupe BPCE agrees to buy Fidor
7832 views comments | 35 tweets | 50 linkedin
Telefonica Germany launches Fidor-backed mobile banking serviceTelefonica Germany launches Fidor-backed m...
7052 views comments | 16 tweets | 22 linkedin
hands typing furiouslyManaging Big Data After Brexit
6661 views 0 | 6 tweets | 8 linkedin
hands typing furiouslyBank of Pikachu? What does Pokemon Go mean...
5689 views 0 | 11 tweets | 9 linkedin

Featured job

Find your next job