Director of Payment Systems Department of Iran’s Central Bank announced‌ the entrance of payment processing networks such as Japan’s JCB and China’s UnionPay in the next couple of months.

ISNA reported that according to Davoud MohammadBeigi, Director of Payment Systems Department of Iran’s Central Bank, Iranians will soon have access to international payment cards from Japan’s JCB and China’s UnionPay.

“JCB cards are accepted in 130 countries and 30 million stores worldwide are covered by the company, although this is half of VISA’s coverage,” said MohammadBeigi. According to the Director of Payment Systems of Iran’s Central Bank, access to these credit cards will help Iranians travelling to Asian and European countries. Although these payment services are also available in North America they have a low penetration rate in that Area.

Due to sanctions imposed on Iran’s economy, Iranians haven’t been able to benefit from International payment networks such as VISA or MasterCard. This led the Central Bank of Iran to implement a local interpayment system called “Shetab”. The payment system was introduced in 2002 and all card issuing banks are requierd to connect to the system. Iranian debit card owners from any local banks in Iran are able to withdraw or transfer money from any ATM or POS across the country thanks to the Shetab system.

Read: State of Online Payment and Transactions in Iran

MohammadBeigi added that the Central Bank is also planning for the connectivity of Shetab network with VISA and MasterCard. “After the implementation of JCPOA we got in talks with these four international payment networks, but since VISA and MasterCard are American companies there are limitations for them to enter Iran’s market,” added MohammadBeigi.

Iranians were able to register for debit cards in some of the neighbouring countries such as Armenia and Azerbaijan through a couple of the local banks in Iran, but according to MohmmadBeigi in that way those people would be considered as the customers of the foreign banks. What the Central Bank of Iran is planning to do right now is to officially connect to the international payment systems.

Debit cards from China UnionPay is also accepted in over 100 countries around the world. In 2010 PayPal announced a partnership with China UnionPay for members to use the services of the company.

For years Iranians faced the obstacle of transferring money inside or outside the country and making online purchases from international websites, but it seems that the situation is slowly changing for the people in Iran. The entrance of international payment processing networks could have a great impact on Iran’s e-commerce and banking system.

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