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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bank Consortium to Introduce Ruble ATMs

Getting cash in Moscow will enter the modern age this December when a group of nine banks plan to turn on the country's first network of automatic teller machines.

Peter Derby, president of Dialog Bank, which is part of the group, said in an interview that each of the banks will have at least one automatic teller machine, or ATM, connected to the new network when testing begins Dec. 6. As many as 40 could be running by early 1994.

The network promises to make it much easier for both Russians and foreigners to obtain cash. Cardholders with accounts at any of the Russian banks in the network will be able to withdraw cash from any of the ATM machines.

And foreigners with Europay Mastercards or with foreign bank cash cards that are connected to the Cirrus or Maestro networks, among the biggest cash card networks in the world, will also also be able to withdraw cash at the machines.

Russians traveling abroad will also be able to obtain hard currency with their Russian-issued cash card at 146, 000 Cirrus and Maestro teller machines around the world. Rubles will be exchanged for hard currency at the Central Bank rate at the time of the transaction.

"Russia has the opportunity, without any baggage, to implement the latest technology", Derby said. "We don't have any system that we have to trash".

The nine banks participating in the project are the shareholders in the Card Center, a data processing center for credit cards and, soon, ATM withdrawals.

The nine banks are Dialog, Most Bank, Savings Bank of Moscow, Savings Bank of St. Petersburg, Elbim Bank, Stolichny, Credit Moscow, Jugorsky and National Credit Bank.

Five of the nine banks - Dialog, Savings Bank of Moscow, Savings Bank of St. Petersburg, Most Bank and Elbim - are authorized to issue Europay Mastercard and Cirrus and Maestro ATM cards.

As a result of the Central Bank's ruling this month that dollar transactions would be banned as of Jan. 1, the ATMs in Russia will only dispense rubles.

Obtaining a card will be relatively expensive for Russians. Unlike the West, where cards are either issued free or at a nominal charge, costs for a card will be between $25 and $75, depending on the bank, Derby estimated. Each bank will set its own transaction fees.

Dmitry Alekhin, general manager of Card Center, said ATMs outside of Moscow could be hooked up by next year.