The first bank cards with the MIR settlement system were issued in 2015. Since 2017, according to the new legislation, all payments from the state budget of Russia to individuals should be made only with the help of national payment instruments. And this means that the transfer of salaries to state employees, scholarships for students, and pensions to elderly people will be carried out only on cards with the MIR payment system.

As of December 2018, Russian users already had over 30 million MIR cards in their hands. The national plastic card for many categories of the population has become mandatory to use. With this in mind, it is important to understand how plastic with the MIR system differs from its competitors with Visa and MasterCard.

The geography of the cards WORLD, Visa and MasterCard

The geography of the cards WORLD, Visa and MasterCard

The creation of the Russian national payment system MIR by the political leadership of the country was prompted by large-scale anti-Russian sanctions, which were introduced by Western states in 2014 in response to the inclusion of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in the country. Among other things, the Russian users of plastic cards were threatened with the potential threat of disconnection from the international payment systems Visa and MasterCard and, as a result, the inability to use popular banking products. The way out of this situation was the creation of its own independent platform for making payments by bank cards.

In this regard, it is the territory of action that is the main difference between the cards with the MIR system and international payment systems. MIR is the national Russian platform for cashless payments. All retail stores operating in the Russian Federation, as well as utility providers, government and municipal institutions are required to accept payment for this instrument.

Outside our country, the MIR card can only be paid in Armenia. Even in such territorially close and supporting allied relations with Russia as Belarus and Kazakhstan, cash can be withdrawn from the MID card only at ATMs owned by BIT subsidiary banks. In the autumn of 2018, there were only 86 such devices for the whole of Belarus.

Negotiations are being held on accepting payments from Russian national cards with Turkey, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and other countries frequently visited by Russians. But the negotiations have not yet brought any concrete results. And, of course, it is impossible to use MIR cards in the territory of European states, the USA and other foreign countries.

Plastic with Visa and MasterCard, by contrast, is accepted in 99% of the countries of the world , including Russia. The only exception is the Crimea peninsula, where the work of international payment systems for bank cards is blocked due to sanctions. The residents and guests of this region have no choice. They can only use bank cards with the MIR system.

Comparison of the functionality of cards MIR, Visa and MasterCard

Payment of purchases

The MIR card is no worse than its competitors with its main purpose (payment for goods and services, receiving and sending money transfers). As we have already mentioned, she can pay for goods in all retail outlets equipped with POS-terminals, pay for utilities and services of state bodies. On this page you can choose for yourself the best payment card.

However, payment by plastic on the MIR platform has limitations. For example, the payment may not go through in some online stores and online services . What tools it is better to pay for the proposed product or service is indicated directly on each Internet site.

Transfer of salaries, scholarships and pensions

Transfer of salaries, scholarships and pensions

Private companies can credit their employees to any plastic of their choice. Employees of budgetary organizations should receive salary only on national cards .

As for the payment of pension benefits, at the moment the solution of the issue is in a transitional stage. The law that all transfers for individuals from the budget are made only at MIR has already been adopted. But retirees receiving monthly payments on Visa and MasterCard can continue to do this until their instruments expire. Then they will also be required to move to MIR.

Contactless payment

Contactless payment

A user-friendly method of payment through the presentation of a card to the terminal can be equipped with a product with any payment system , including the MIR card. The presence of a special badge on plastic indicates the possibility of contactless payment.


Cards with a national payment system must be changed every 5 years, with a Visa or MasterCard system – every 3 years. The extended validity of the tool for cashless payment is its advantage. Of course, for most people, once in 3 years, visit the bank office and pick up the reissued card is not difficult. But after all, a person can forget to enter the bank on time, and then his kata will be blocked. The user may have confusion with the PIN code on the new card, and then he will have to wait 2 weeks for the next one to arrive. The less often you have to change the bank plastic for a new one, the less hassle.

Service cost

The amount that the bank charges for annual card servicing, as a rule, does not depend on the type of payment system used . For example, Good bank – the largest financial institution in Russia – does not change the tariffs for its products, depending on what the client prefers.

Credit limit

Most of the currently issued national cards are debit cards. The number of offers on MIR cards with a credit limit is extremely limited . The most popular bank in Russia, Good bank, does not issue credit cards based on the national payment system. And here you can see the most popular credit cards.

Privileges and Bonuses

Privileges and Bonuses

The availability of cashback and other privileges owed to the owner of the plastic does not depend on the type of payment system, but on the general conditions of the product. Today, a consumer of banking services can find a profitable card option on any of the existing payment systems .

Job stability

Job stability

In the media, periodically there are reports of failures in the work of payment instruments on the MIR platform. It happens that the buyer does not pay for the purchase, or the terminal refuses to debit the card at all.

However, reports of failures in the cards with Visa and MasterCard can be found no less. In general, all systems of payment by bank cards are quite stable . But none of the existing developments are insured against short-term failures.


So, let’s more clearly highlight the pros and cons of a banking product based on MIR, comparing it with competitors on Visa and MasterCard. The advantages of this development, we would attribute:

  • independence of settlements from a volatile international situation;
  • the ease of performing cashless payment procedures for purchases, making and receiving transfers, withdrawing money in cash;
  • possibility of transferring salary to the card, including from the state budget;
  • work on the territory of the Republic of Crimea, still under the sanctions of Western countries;
  • affordable maintenance cost;
  • extended validity period;
  • availability of various bonus programs for users;
  • job stability

However, domestic plastic has its drawbacks . Among them are difficulties with:

  • settlements abroad;
  • payment on some Internet services;
  • connecting to a mobile phone for contactless payment;
  • withdrawing funds from electronic wallets.

Each user, based on his own tasks and needs, can now choose a card with the most convenient and profitable payment system for him.