Banks reported that ATMs were not ready for new banknotes due to sanctions

Most ATMs and payment terminals have not been reprogrammed for new banknotes, they were supplied by foreign companies that left Russia, the ADB said, urging to postpone the introduction of new banknotes into circulation for two years.

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Only 20% of ATMs can accept new 100-ruble bills, this is due to the use of foreign currency recognition devices, the manufacturers of which have refused to be present on the Russian market, Vice President of the Association of Russian Banks (ADB) Alexei Voylukov told Izvestia.

He referred to the data of credit institutions, according to which payment terminals and ATMs are mostly not reprogrammed, and internal cash registers are about three-quarters ready to process new banknotes. Trying to reconfigure the device software would be extremely difficult, Voylukov warned, noting that it is possible to negotiate the supply of equipment from friendly countries or arrange its production in Russia. But Russian companies estimate the necessary period to start production on an industrial scale at two years.

Voylukov recalled that the strategy of the Central Bank implied the replacement of hundred-ruble banknotes during this year, in 2023 it is planned to replace banknotes with a face value of 1 thousand and 5 thousand rubles, it was decided to leave the rest of the denominations for 2024. Voylukov urged to start issuing new banknotes no earlier than 2024, when it is planned to complete the technical re-equipment. A different scenario, he pointed out, would be irrational and extremely costly for all financial institutions.

The Central Bank called it premature to assess the readiness of equipment to accept a new banknote. Banknotes will be put into circulation as soon as the banking infrastructure is ready, most equipment suppliers have already received adaptive software for setting up equipment, the Bank of Russia emphasized.

Sberbank assessed the readiness of its ATMs to accept new banknotes after they enter circulation at 95%. The remaining 5% falls on devices in which, due to the departure of a foreign supplier from Russia, it is impossible to update the firmware, in such cases, a replacement for domestic models will be carried out, the credit institution plans.

In total, about 200,000 ATMs operate in Russia, approximately 120,000 (60%) of them are produced by the American Diebold Nixdorf and NCR, which left the Russian market, Alexei Fedorov, a leading economist at the TeleTrade information and analytical center, estimated. In his opinion, setting up ATMs of these companies is either impossible, or will be carried out through unofficial channels, and it is irrational to change 120,000 devices just to use new banknotes. The process of replacing these ATMs will take two to three years until they are out of service due to wear and tear, Fedorov believes.

The Bank of Russia introduced a new hundred-ruble note about four months ago, at the end of June. The new banknote depicts the symbols of Moscow — a fragment of the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin with chimes, Zaryadye Park, the Moscow State University building on Sparrow Hills. At the same time, the Apollo quadriga on the building of the Bolshoi Theater was removed from it. On the reverse side of the banknote is the Rzhev Memorial to the Soviet Soldier.

The modernization of banknotes of the 1997 sample was announced at the Central Bank in March 2021. The new banknotes will feature views of cities that were not previously represented on them, said Mikhail Alekseev, former deputy chairman of the regulator.

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