Negotiations with big credit card issuers, namely Visa and Master Card, are underway to introduce their cards to Iran’s market, the CEO of Shaparak payment and settlement network said on Wednesday.
Mohsen Qaderi, however, added that the process could take a long time.
“The success of the talks hinges on how serious and consistent we are. Currently the Central Bank of Iran is determined to hold fruitful talks with the big card issuers,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Qaderi said the CBI has been busy trying to connect Iran’s banking sector to international networks and systems since six months ago but preparing the ground for the entry of credit cards takes at least a year.
“Adopting the EMV standard is one of the prerequisites for introducing credit cards to Iran’s market,” he said.
EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) is a technical standard for smart payment cards and for payment terminals and automated teller machines that can accept them. These are smart cards (also called chip cards or IC cards) that store their data on integrated circuits rather than magnetic stripes.
Post-sanctions provide a good opportunity to upgrade the country’s payment systems and to “close the gap regarding the quality and range of payment services provided by Iranian firms and banks and their international counterparts”, Qaderi added.
It was in late February that Davoud Mohammad-Beigi, the head of CBI’s Payment Systems’ Department, announced the signing of a deal with Japan’s JCB. Based on the deal, banks will issue Japan’s JCB cards to Iranian customers by September.
JCB Co.—a credit card company—was established in 1961 and currently its cards are issued in 20 countries. According to the company’s website, over 89 million people in 19 countries and territories around the world are JCB cardholders.
Qaderi stated that reconnecting Iran’s banking system means initiating financial transactions between Iran and the outside world.
“In line with Iran’s economic and political reconnection with the outside world, we will host more tourists and have to provide services such as international credit cards to them,” he said.