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Report: Russian regulator promises merchants low fees for QR code payments

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation wants to add a QR code payment functionality to its instant payment system, which it launched in February, Vedomosti reported.

Russian retail clients using the central bank's payment system will be able to make QR code payments from September, with testing to start in July. The fee that merchants will be charged by the central bank for the service will likely equate to about 0.4% of the value of a given transaction, compared with between 1.5% and 2.5% they pay now to banks for processing card payments, the newspaper said in its May 22 report.

Russian retailers have long complained about high fees associated with card payment processing. However, Russian authorities recently decided not to regulate the size of the fees, while local payment operators, including the units of Visa Inc.and Mastercard Inc., agreed to reduce fees charged on the purchases of goods and services in socially sensitive areas. Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service also recently dismissed the complaint of local retailers about Visa and Mastercard abusing their allegedly dominant position by charging high fees, Vedomosti said.

Meanwhile, Kommersant reported May 23 that the central bank's instant payment system will soon become available to local brokers and their retail clients who have accounts with banks already connected to the system, with testing to start in September.

Eleven banks were connected to the central bank's payment system when it was launched in February, and the central bank wants all systemically important lenders to join it by the end of 2019.