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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dollar Machine for Moscow

Visa International opened on Monday what it called the first automatic teller machine to dispense U. S. dollars in Russia.

The machine, in the lobby of Moscow's Metropol Hotel, will dispense dollars to Visa International cardholders authorized to receive cash advances, Jean-Jaques Desbons, president of the company's European offices, said at a press conference.

Russians will also have access to the system by opening accounts with Russian banks that subscribe to the Visa network, Desbons said.

Currently, only Mosbusiness Bank subscribes to the network. The bank will manage the NCR-built teller and keep it supplied with cash.

Alexander Polyakov, vice-president of Mosbusiness Bank, said that his bank would charge prevailing rates for dollar transactions as a commission for maintaining the teller, but would not specify an exact figure.

"We find ourselves in an indefinite phase. The exact figure is still to be determined", he said, adding that the

company hopes eventually to open ruble teller machines.

Speaking to reporters at the Metropol Hotel, Desbons called the new teller an important first step in the evolution of Russia's financial institutions.

"Russia is a very important market for Visa", he said. "It is a market which is starting to develop, step by step, and we are taking the first ones now".

He noted how a number of large companies - Sprint, NCR, Unisys, and the software firm AFS - came together to develop the project.

Visa also announced that it now has a live connection for authorization of credit card purchases, which it hopes will reduce illegal use of lost and stolen cards.

Sprint is providing the international ground link with Visa's central computer network in England for verification of credit card data.

The new teller is the brainchild of the joint English-Finnish venture, Inpass, which has been pioneering advances in the nascent Russian electronic payment industry since 1989.

The company was the first to introduce a live international authorization system to Russia for Visa cardholders, and was the first to provide Russian retailers with an electronic point-of-sale system.

Inpass has also been working with Intour Services, a Russian company, since 1991, acquiring merchants for the card payment industry.

Future plans for Inpass include a local bank card program, using extensive automated teller and point-of-sale networks, which will be opened for holders of ruble accounts in Russia. Toby Mitchell, Visa's area manager for Eastern Europe, said that there was clear evidence Russia was ready for a credit card system.

He said that in the past two years there had been a number of ambitious projects to introduce cash machines to Russia, without result.

But he said that, "The group of companies behind this new project has found a low-cost and simple way of providing modern technology required by cash machines".

"Russian banks can now install cash machines without having to make large investments which cannot be cost-justified", he said.