As more countries embrace the cashless trend, a select group of Russian banks are also preparing to board the bandwagon by introducing contactless ATMs.

These contactless cash points will allow customers to withdraw money or perform other currency transactions at ATMs utilising mobile applications. 

The new technology has been recently launched by Sberbank and Russian Standard Bank during the autumn of 2018. Other leading Russian lenders including VTB, CBOM, and Otkritie among others, are also looking to invest in the contactless ATM technology in 2019. 

According to the director of the retail product department at Credit Bank of Moscow Alexei Okhorzin, roughly 80% of the bank’s clientele are now making use of the preferred contactless mode of payment instead of cash. 

Mr Okhorzin says: “Nowadays, a card is not just a piece of plastic, but a means of payment, which can take the form of a ring, phone or key fob.

“CBOM is interested in developing contactless operations using smartphones and expanding the capabilities of its mobile bank using popular services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.”

Contactless transactions via cards or applications on smartphones have comprised more than half of all payments in Russia since the beginning of the year, according to MasterCard. 

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation calculates that the current overall fraction of cashless payments in Russia stands at almost 50%. 

According to a recent study conducted by Sberbank, 39% of all transactions in the goods and services sectors were cashless in 2017, versus the minor 4% recorded nine years prior to that in 2008. During the first three months of this year, the 2017 figure increased to 45%. 

“We see clients’ behaviour change,” Okhorzin pointed out. “The government and payment systems have played an enormous role in that, facilitating the development of the infrastructure, new technologies and services.”

Okhorzin also noted that the number of cashless transactions has grown significantly, particularly in the major cities over the last two to three years, adding that the aspects of this growth have been somewhat remarkable. 

Vasily Voronov, managing director at Rosbank’s department for introducing innovations and changes, argues that: “In bigger cities, payment with a contactless card or with a smartphone at points of sale has become a widely spread pattern for a number of customer segments,” adding that with the number of POS terminals increasing at Russian retailers, consumer behaviour and attitude has also taken a positive turn.