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Cashless payments exceed cash transactions in Russia in for the first time

Sberbank has analysed cashless payments in Russia under the SberData project, its big data analytics and processing initiative. For the first time ever, over a half of products and services in Russia were paid for digitally in Q4 2019. Citizens made 50.4% of total transactions using cashless instruments, which is 4.5 pp higher than in Q4 2018.

According to SberData, the number of cashless payments will exceed 50% in 2020, too, which is proved by an estimate by the Bank of Russia. According to its statistical data for 2019 the metric reached 48.6%. If all transactions using cards are taken into account, i.e. P2P transfers are added to shopping data, the proportion of cashless transactions climbs to 68.8%.#

Dynamics of the share of non-cash transactions in Russia

Today 50% is not such a great achievement for many regions, as this level was exceeded in Q4 2019 in 36 regions, and Murmansk Region reached new heights of 60%. It is very likely that digital transactions will become a preferable payment method in the majority of Russian regions next year.

The first ten regions by the number of cashless payments are still the same, compared to Q3 2019 and the full year. The leader of cashless payments growth is Chukotka Autonomous District with 7.7 pp, compared to Q4 2018. Chukotka is in the top 10 most cashless regions. However, the majority of regions with rapidly growing volume of cashless transactions don’t have the fastest penetration rates. This is considered as a sign of a rapidly ongoing nationwide growth of digital transactions in Russia.

The share of non-cash trade in total expenses of Russian citizens

The penetration rate is expected to be higher in the largest cities rather than in the regions. More than 60% of purchases are paid for digitally in Syktyvkar, Petrozavodsk, Apatity, Ukhta and Severodvinsk. According to the 2019 full-year results, the residents of these cities preferred cashless payments on average in 50.1% and 51.3% of cases for the whole year and the fourth quarter, respectively. Interestingly, Moscow (53.7%) and Saint Petersburg (54.6%) haven’t yet made it to the top and took the 30th and 19th places in the ranking of Russian cashless cities.

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