Economy, Business And Markets

Plan to Issue JCB Cards

Plan to Issue JCB Cards  Plan to Issue JCB Cards

Banks will issue Japan’s JCB cards for Iranian customers by September, head of the Central Bank of Iran’s department for payment systems said Monday.

“Following the lifting of sanctions on January 16, we have been holding talks with Japan’s JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) and China’s CUP (China Union Pay) to provide bank cards to Iranian customers. We have come to an agreement with the JCB,” Davoud Mohammad Beigi was quoted as saying by IRNA.

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.

Mohammad Beigi added that JCB cardholders might use them in Southeast Asia and Europe but the cards are not widely accepted in North America where the market is dominated by Visa and MasterCard.

 “The central bank has plans to connect international cards like Visa and MasterCard to Shetab--the domestic network for money transactions,” he said. “But first some changes should be made to Shetab.”

 US Constraints

Mohammad Beigi pointed to the restrictions for American companies to do business with Iranian entities as another obstacle for using such cards in Iran, and added that legal departments of the CBI are working to resolve the problems.

American companies, including Visa and MasterCard, are currently barred from doing business in and with Iran; however, their affiliates in third countries are free to do business with Iran.

Although most of the nuclear-related financial/banking sanctions on Iran have been lifted, restrictions on US dollar transactions remain discouraging many American companies to start business in and with Iran. 

Recalling that some banks are already offering such cards to their customers by the help of third-party banks in neighboring countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan, Mohammad Beigi cautioned that such operations are not official and the CBI does not approve it.

“We prefer to offer international cards officially.”

He noted that the CBI intends to provide international cards to Iranians at discount rates and even ask the companies not to charge Iranian customers for domestic transactions.

Currently, Iranian banks charge customers 5,000 rials for each money transfer within Shetab. According to the CBI, 838 million successful transactions were made in the fiscal month that ended Jan. 20 with a total worth of 873.1 trillion rials ($28.9 billion).