Payment Systems in Russia and CIS

Payment Systems in Russia and CIS

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is home to more than 282 million people, stretching across 7% of the Earth’s total landmass. The largest e-Commerce market share belongs to its largest member state, the Russian Federation, which respectively has the largest population; most of Russia’s inhabitants have bank accounts and internet access. Historically a cash-based society, Russia has begun transitioning to online payments, with debit cards, online banking, e-Wallets, and m-Commerce as the most popular payment options within the region at present.

Payment landscape in Russia

Cards are gaining momentum and more people are becoming banked. Local e-Wallets are well-known in the CIS region, outperforming international players, such as PayPal. Online banking has developed into a new trend, with m-Commerce being a viable alternative.

Although historically being a cash-oriented society, local consumers in Russia are gradually become more comfortable with new technologies and confident in their security. The national e-Commerce market is projected to grow.

According to Statista forecasts, COVID-19 will positively influence the Russian e-Commerce market value in the next 4 years, with between 18 and 28% growth in value in comparison with the baseline scenario without the pandemic.

Cards, online banking, e-Wallets, and mobile or telecom payments already enjoy widespread popularity, and it’s a matter of time before these consumer preferences feature more prominently online.

Card payments in Russia

International payment systems, such as Visa and Mastercard, have established a strong presence in the region, though Russia has introduced their own national payment system MIR.

Visa is currently the preferred payment system in Russia, holding more than 60% of the market share. Generally, cards are used for engaging in traditional e-Commerce. Russian consumers feel comfortable purchasing electronics and apparel online using their payment cards, as well as paying for utilities and for remittance.

Online banking in Russia

Online banking is a payment method that has grown rapidly over the past few years, with local banks such as Sberbank Online, VTB, Tinkoff Bank, and Alfa-Click dominating the scene.

If cards are popular in traditional e-Commerce, the majority of utility bills, telecommunications, and remittances are handled via online banking.

Most popular e-Wallets in Russia

e-Wallets offer an alternative to cards when engaging in e-Commerce. Consumers can top-up their online accounts and make purchases without entering sensitive personal information. The most popular e-Wallets in Russia are YooMoney, Qiwi, and WebMoney.

e-Wallets are commonly used by local consumers for both e-Commerce purchases and for telephone bills.


YooMoney, previously known under the Yandex Money brand, is the most popular e-payments service in Russia and one of the most popular alternative payment method in the CIS region. This alternative payment method is familiar to a staggering 93% of the population, with 40% using this payment method.

YooMoney offers consumers the ability to fund their e-Wallets in a variety of ways, including bank transfer, top-ups via card payments, mobile phone balances or cash.

Learn more about accepting YooMoney here.

Mobile Payments in Russia

Mobile and telecommunications companies also feature, though to a lesser extent. The most prominent players in this space include local telecommunication companies such as MTS, Megafon, Beeline, and TELE2.

Payments in Telegram

Telegram is a cross-platform, cloud-based instant messaging app. Despite some heavy competition, Telegram has managed to gain a considerable following, being one of the most popular messengers in Russia and CIS countries.

ECOMMPAY offers payments with Telegram, allowing everyone to accept payments via Telegram messaging app.

Learn more about Telegram payments here.

Payment landscape in Kazakhstan

With the population of 18 million people, Kazakhstan has rapidly turned into one of the most attractive markets in the region. What’s more, the country has been ranked in the Top-10 of the easiest countries with which to do business by The World Bank.

While cash payments still dominate in the country, there is an ongoing trend of consumers looking into other payment methods, particularly in the digital space. Despite only 24% of the population making purchases online, 59% of Kazakh users already have an account with a financial institution.

After cash payments, debit and credit cards are the payment method of choice among Kazakh consumers. The local market is split equally between Visa and Mastercard issued cards. As for alternative payment methods, QIWI Wallet, Wallet One, Plus24, Yurta Wallet, YooMoney (previously known as Yandex Money) are popular online payment options.

Payment landscape in Belarus

With a 82% internet penetration rate, this country is ready for online business’ take-off. Belarus has also experienced a 4.6% increase in internet users between 2020 and 2021.

The preferred payment methods in Belarus are similar to the ones in Russia: YooMoney (Yandex Money), QIWI Wallet, WebMoney, as well as the local payment system Raschet.

At the same time, only 19% of the population use credit cards, with VISA, MasterCard, and local BELKART being the most popular card schemes in the country.

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