Presenting the Meanwhile in Russia #4 – most significant news from the Russian payments market. To get the news directly to your phone subscribe to our Telegram channel
▪ Russians are withdrawing less cash from ATMs.
According to the Bank of Russia, since 2012, the share of transactions for non-cash payment for goods and services is growing, while the share of withdrawing cash from ATMs is decreasing. Statistics shows that the average purchase amount using card is decreasing – indicating more active card usage for everyday purchases. Mastercard also announced that Russia has the biggest number of non-cash smartphone-based payments.
▪ Head of the QIWI Group supported the idea of anonymous central bank issued crypto-roubles.
Sergey Solonin expressed the idea that centrally-issued crypto-roubles may replace cash and ultimately circumvent SWIFT. He also pointed out several arguments in favor of the anonymity of such money. In his opinion, overcomplicated identification and excessive security checks may be a barrier to the positive user experience.
The idea is currently debated in the Russian Central Bank, although there is no clear position yet.
▪ The tax free system is finally piloted in three Russian cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg and Krasnogorsk.
Implementation of tax free will cost federal budget around $2.4-$3.2 mln. a year. However, Federal Tax Service expects additional tax flows from the growing number of tourist and growth in the volume of retail turnover. Visitors can apply for tax refund (10%-18%) on all purchases above 160$ made in the largest stores. Tax free will work as in any other country – through tax free agents.
▪ Visa and Mastercard are poised to launch new card-to-card transfer system in Russia.
Instead of a card number, the sender will need only the recipient’s phone number. Payment schemes will create a database of card numbers and associated phone numbers for the operation of the service.
P2P transfers using only mobile phone are extremely popular in Russia (their value is larger than all of the C2B card transactions in the country) and are currently available within the individual banks. New Visa/Mastercard service will be provided to the cardholders of different issuers.