The new cards will be issued on request for free beginning in January and to all Russian citizens in 2014 unless refused in writing.
Cardholders can receive pensions and pay taxes with the cards and then may use the card like a bank card to pay for utilities, public transportation, prescriptions and other social or municipal needs, RIA Novosti reported Friday.
Within three to five years, the new combination cards will be fitted to be used as identification.
The program will cost Russia $4.4 billion to $5.4 billion, the Russian economics ministry said.
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