A developed transportation infrastructure and the widespread introduction of transportation cards by public transportation companies like Moskovsky Metropoliten and Peterburgsky Metropoliten continue to drive closed loop pre-paid cards. Thus, closed loop pre-paid cards continues to see strong transaction value growth in 2019, mainly due to the wide popularity of transportation cards, the most developed type of card in the category.
Apart from traditional gift cards, open loop pre-paid cards is characterised by various niche products, such as cards for children or weddings, issued by banks. For instance, one of the most popular wedding cards is issued by Russkiy Standart Bank.
In the review period, pre-paid cards were sometimes referred to as “bribery cards”. This is because local banks logged transfers from card-to-card in terms of non-embossed open loop pre-paid cards, which did not contain any information about the cardholder.
Zolotaya Korona remains the leading issuer of pre-paid cards, due to its dominance of the open loop format. The issuer’s main offering is the MyGift gift card.
In 2019, the UK fintech start-up Revolut was set to enter into partnership with QIWI, a financial services and owner of the QIWI e-wallet, to introduce its services in Russia. However, the launch has been postponed several times due to other geographical priorities, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and possibly the US and Canada.
In September 2018, the largest Russian bank, Sberbank, launched the SberKids mobile application. The primary aim of SberKids is to educate children on financial literacy and encourage usage, although parents also have access to the app.
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