President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I remind you that we looked at the question of establishing a national payment system at a meeting of the State Council and the Council for Information Society Development at the end of last year. Today I would like to sum up the preliminary results with you and hear your proposals, because there are different positions on this issue.
So, what do we have to agree on? The establishment of a national payment system and its legal and organisational framework is indeed a strategic issue. Our success in this undertaking will be crucial in many ways for the success of our overall financial strategy, and for providing our people with quality service and protecting them from negative financial events.
What are the key issues here? There are several of them.
First, we need to define the concepts themselves: who will participate in the national payment system, what rights and obligations will participants have, what kind of relations will connect them, who will regulate these relations and how, and to what extent will our national payment system fit in with international systems and with the national systems that other countries have developed?
Second, we need to decide on the format we will give our national payment system: will it be strictly national, or will it incorporate international payment systems, and who will be responsible for regulating these matters? This is another set of issues that we need to settle.
Third, we need to reach agreement on the system’s technical components and model. In this area, the priority is to avoid creating a monopoly and ensure equal access to the infrastructure for Russian banks and other financial market participants.
I want to stress that in establishing our national payment system we must, of course, take into account our international agreements, including, naturally, our agreements on establishing the Customs Union and the future Common Economic Space.
Equally important is to ensure that this infrastructure we develop uses high-speed communication channels and is convenient to use for ordinary people. Our goal today, after all, is not to build some kind of ideal model or simply launch a new project, but to create an environment in which people will not just use the plastic cards they carry in their pockets to withdraw cash from ATMs once a month, but will make use of the full range of options they offer: paying for services, making purchases, receiving social support payments, and carrying out all the various transactions that are part of their lives.
This is not just an economic or banking sector issue, but is partly a problem of changing the way we think. The vast majority of people in our country still associate buying goods, paying for services, paying utilities bills above all with having cash in your pocket, but the whole world does things differently these days. People here make quite active use of international payments cards, but the way they are used here is nonetheless quite different to the way the same cards are used in other countries.
We need to reflect on all of these points I have just raised, agree on the rules and move forward. I think that establishing a national payment system is one of the steps we need to take to achieve the common objective that we have discussed together on past occasions, namely, developing a national financial centre in Russia, and building up an international financial centre to serve as a foundation for our development over these coming years. Let’s begin work.