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Share of non-cash payments in Russia hits 80%

The country has been among the fastest in the world in the move away from cash

The share of cashless transactions in Russia has surged to 80%, up from just 25% a decade ago, the head of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, said on Saturday.

“The share of non-cash payments is like a barometer for assessment of maturity of state financial system,” Nabiullina said at the international RUSSIA EXPO, which kicked off in Moscow earlier in the day.

The share of cashless transactions in the country has been steadily increasing over the past several years.

Last year, the central bank reported that 79% of people in Russia preferred to pay for goods and services using non-cash methods of payments. The figure was hovering around 70% in the second quarter of 2020, according to the regulator.

In 2021, Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, stated that the share of non-cash spending among Russians surged to 59.4% in the first three months of the year, an all-time high.

Earlier this year, the first deputy chairman of the Bank of Russia, Olga Skorobogatova, said the EU and the US have been copying the Russian experience in creating their own payment solutions.

READ MORE: Digital ruble can help Russia fight sanctions – top economist

In 2020, a ranking issued by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) placed Russia among the top five in the world in terms of the speed of transition to non-cash payments during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Analysts at BCG calculated the net change in consumer cash payments, based on the proportion of consumers who used cash more frequently during the pandemic minus the percentage of consumers who used it less. In Russia the change was estimated at -48%. Only the UK (-62%), Canada (-59%), and Australia (-53%) are ahead of Russia for this indicator.

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