Cashless transactions exceed cash transactions in Russia in 4Q19 for the first time, according to Sberbank

Jan 31, 2020
  • Share of cashless turnover in 4Q19 is 50.4%, according to bank’s analysts
  • More than half of all purchases made digitally in 36 regions
  • In largest cities, share of cashless turnover already tops 50%, according to annual results
  • Moscow and St. Petersburg not in top of most cashless Russian cities ranking yet


January 31, 2020, Moscow — Sberbank has analyzed cashless payments in Russia under the SberData project, Sberbank’s 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 4Q19. Citizens made 50.4% of total transactions using cashless instruments, which is 4.5 pp higher than in 4Q18.

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 9M19 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 will climb to 68.8%.

Today 50% is not such a great achievement for many regions, as this level was exceeded in 4Q19 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 3Q19 and the full year. The leader of cashless payments growth is Chukotka Autonomous District with 7.7 pp, compared to 4Q18. 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 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.

The ranking of cashless cities and regions: 2019 results