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Russian Electronic Payments: Innovation & New Regulation

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"September, 15 2010 at a meeting of the Duma Committee on Financial markets was the first meeting of the working group to prepare a law on electronic money. It demanded that representatives of the banking community to oblige the operators of electronic money to obtain a banking license."

It's important to note when reading this article that the new e-money regulations in Russia are still pending and not yet signed into law. If they are signed into law later this year, they could be active by early next 2011.

Late last year, bowing to an increased interest from the government to regulate non bank electronic payments, Russian e-money giants decided to establish an industry association. A similar situation had occurred earlier in Russia when the government began regulating payment terminals and during the rapid growth of pay terminals, a successful industry group had also been formed. As the terminal laws developed, interaction and lobbying from the industry group helped to shape the new regulations. Without that participation it can be said that those new laws could have created serious limitations on pay terminal activities. It is from this experience the concept grew for an Electronic Money Association. A similar outcome is now desired.

Fearing that strict banking regulation over non-bank electronic money would be detrimental to the industry by slowing growth and causing the business to be less profitable, in October of 2009, the Russian Electronic Money Association [AED] was formed. This industry group united the largest providers and industry associations working in the Russian electronic money sector.

Member companies included:

-WebMoney Transfer and Yandex.Dengi (these two companies handle approximately 90% of the Russian Internet payments/digital currency market in Russia)

-i-Free (mobile operator)

-QIWI (cash terminal operator)

-National Association of Microfinance Market Participants (NAUMIR) [Russian Association for Micro Financing]

-National Association of E-commerce Market Participants (NAUET). [Russian Association for Electronic Trade]

In the first nine months of 2009 in Russia Internet- payments reached 10 billion rubles, payments through the pay terminals of QIWI with the personal office reached 8 billion rubles and cell phone payments reached 7 billion rubles.*

Goals of the AED

The major goals of the Electronic Money Association are to lobby for the interests of the industry in creating legislation for electronic money (now estimated at 30 billion rubles for 2010)

The major aim of the AED is to encourage the development of the e-money marketplace and to make it a popular financial facility for consumers, government groups and industry.

The methods being used to achieve these goals are:

-Work on legal aspects of the e-money market regulations,

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