The Central Bank of Armenia has included MIR, the national payment card system of Russia, in its register of active payment and settlement systems. The move is part of a project that will incorporate mutual acceptance of national payment system cards between the two countries (i.e. ArCa cards can be used in Russia and MIR cards in Armenia). The pilot launch of the project is planned for the end of summer 2017 and will also provide for the issuance of joint ArCa-MIR cards. There are 16 banks currently operating on the ArCa infrastructure.
The need to create the MIR national payment system arose in the summer of 2014 when Visa and MasterCard ceased to servicing the cards of a number of Russian banks due to US sanctions against Russia. An agreement was signed on June 3, 2016 between Armenian Card CJSC (operator of Armenia’s ArCa payment system) and JSC NSPK (operator of the Russian MIR payment system) for mutual servicing of ArCa and MIR.