Yandex.Money is the most-used payment platform in Russia, and one of a family of products closely related to offerings from Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. The service began as—and still focuses its model around—an eWallet platform. Yandex.Money allows users to pay for home utilities, transfer money peer-to-peer, and buy goods online.
Leading over PayPal in Russia, Ukraine and nine other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Yandex.Money has the highest name recognition among payment options in Russia, and many of the countries it serves. Yandex.Money is closely linked with sister platform Yandex.Checkout on merchant websites.
Where did Yandex.Money come from?
Yandex.Money is Russia’s largest electronic payment service, according to a 2016 report. But how did it rise to fame? Originally, Yandex.Money was launched as an eWallet with both desktop and mobile interfaces. With early demonstrated success, the platform was acquired by Sberbank (Russia’s largest bank) in 2013, who bought up 75% of the company’s stock.
Once merged with Sberbank, Yandex.Money was able to tap into the broad payment infrastructure of the institution, including existing ATM terminals and online banking capacities. Suddenly, Yandex.Money had the full banking power of Sberbank and was able to allow users to fund their eWallets more conveniently than ever.
Also in 20163, Yandex.Checkout was launched with the Yandex.Money/Sberbank merger, and is now the leading online payment service for merchants in Russia. The platform was also made available to merchants outside of Russia, giving consumers in Yandex Markets the option to pay for goods abroad by direct bank account debits, mobile phones and even cash at approved retailers. The cash-deposit option has only become more popular with time, and now more than 250,000 cash-acceptance points are available in Yandex Markets.
Yandex.Checkout is the number one payment service for businesses in Russia, offering tailored solutions for websites and even mass payment services. 76,000 merchants have Yandex.Checkout on their websites, and an average of 600 transactions were processed every second in 2016.
In 2015, Yandex.Money received Mastercard Principal Member Status, and now offers reloadable, pre-paid cards in addition to their eWallet platform. The company continues to build partnerships, learning early on from the acquisition by Sberbank that combining forces can lead them right to the top.
Who uses Yandex.Money?
More than 30 Million users use Yandex.Money, with 15,000 accounts opened every day. Every third purchase on the internet in Russia is paid through Yandex.Money, and according to a 2015 public opinion survey, 44% of Russians use Yandex.Money on a regular basis. In the same survey, 92% of Russians said that they are at least familiar with the service.
Outside of Russia, a cluster of countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia show similar rates of use. Beyond these Markets, PayPal dominates in the same space, and the two companies are considered to be direct competitors.
Yandex.Money services since the acquisition by Sberbank have grown extensively, and include:
- Online payments for goods and services
- Peer-to-peer transfers
- Payment of home utilities
- Some transfers possible without creating an account
- Bonus system with special discounts for users
- Easy checkout on Yandex.Checkout-powered websites
- 250,000 deposit and cash-out kiosks and merchants
- Mastercard-stamped pre-paid virtual and plastic cards
What makes Yandex.Money special?
The footprint in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that Yandex.Money has is, perhaps, one of its most distinguishing features. The platform is almost universally known in these Markets, and its use monopolizes certain sectors of Russian eCommerce. For merchants based outside of Russia and Yandex.Money’s larger reach, the platform is seen as an essential component for websites with any thought of reaching Yandex-market audiences.
With over a quarter of a million in-person cash-in/cash-out points to manage Yandex.Money accounts, the service also provides a bridge between online and cash-based commerce. Utility pay is a popular feature at these deposit sites, as well as on the desktop and mobile platforms. Yandex.Money came at a time where Russian eCommerce was set to take off, and with an almost-immediate acquisition by Sberbank, the company has risen to the top of payment platforms in a few short years.
Yandex.Money offers several payment options, some of which can be realized without even registering an account. With a product base ranging from eWallets and check-out carts to Mastercard virtual and physical pre-paid cards, it’s no wonder the company has achieved a 30 Million member clientele. The company continues to expand adeptly, leveraging its sizeable client base in order to provide better-tailored solutions for an even larger population over time.
Yandex.Money works with consumers and merchants to offer convenient, secure and accessible payment options. Yandex.Checkout is the manifestation of this vision, and in equally short time has come to be the most-used payment services for Russian businesses online. Yandex.Checkout has a simple fee model for merchants, and Yandex.Money has some free services peppered in with small per-transaction costs.
Let’s break it down. The major pros of Yandex.Money are:
- Free to make an account
- Some transfers don’t require an account
- Transfers can be initiated online, on mobile or in-person
- Can be used to pay goods or services online, or send money peer-to-peer
- Bonus system and member discounts
- 250,000 top-up/cash-out locations in-market
- Mastercard pre-paid cards, and other services offered as well
And the major cons are:
- Limited presence outside of Eastern Europe and Central Asia
- Only accepts RUB, UAH, BYR, KZT, USD and EUR
- Not all utility providers are supported
- Small commission fees for certain types of transfers
- Bank deposits can only be made to Russian banks
Originally ideated in 2002 as an eWallet, Yandex.Money’s acquisition by Sberbank in 2013 ultimately proved to meet a larger market need, and quickly rose to be Russia’s largest electronic payment service. With a 2015 survey showing a 92% familiarity rate with the platform and a 44% rate of regular use, Yandex.Money has become ubiquitous in the Russian market. Users can pay for home utilities, make online purchases and peer-to-peer transfers, and tap into a long list of additional services thanks to affiliate Sberbank and sister-company Yandex.Checkout.
Yandex.Money leads over PayPal in Russia and Ukraine, as well as nine other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Merchants outside of the Yandex zone have built Yandex.Checkout into their payment platforms at a growing rate, with over 76,000 websites now offering the familiar platform as a payment option for Yandex.Money clientele.
Over 30 Million users have Yandex.Money accounts, and more than 15,000 accounts are opened daily. The Yandex.Money platform offers security and convenience, and the model has proven to be competitive with PayPal and other platforms. Nearly monopolizing certain sectors of the Russian payment market, for example online gaming, Yandex.Money is well-positioned to grow its footprint and continue on their already-defined path of innovative growth through new services and product offerings.