The fourth quarter of 2019 saw Russia’s citizens perform more digital payments than transacting with cash (for the first time ever), state-owned Sberbank confirmed.
Moscow-based Sberbank conducted the market research as part of its SberData initiative, revealing that Russian residents performed 50.4% of total transfers with cashless instruments during the final quarter of 2019, up a significant 4.5% when compared to the same period in 2018.
The shift away from cash payments is not only happening in large cities, as 36 regions in the country are now processing 50% of all transactions through digital platforms. The country’s Murmansk region in the northwest processed 60% of all transactions via digital payment networks.
Moscow and Saint Petersburg came in at 30th and 19th places respectively in the nationwide ranking of Russian cities conducting cashless transactions.
Russia’s move to online payments may be attributed to the development of a national payments card, which aims to compete for market share with Mastercard and Visa.
The scheme was launched at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin and in response to US and EU-led economic sanctions in 2014 which saw payment giants Visa and Mastercard suspend services to Russian financial institutions, after the annexation of neighboring Crimea.
Digital payments and online lending are also becoming increasingly common in Asian nations with large economies. A new survey revealed that a significant number of Asia-based consumers are conducting internet-based transactions, instead of visiting physical bank locations.
The recent survey of Fintech users by Robocash Group found that nearly two-thirds, or 66%, of respondents residing in India, had applied for online credit and conducted digital payments in 2019.