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Send Money To Russia

Making transfers to your friends and family in Russia shouldn’t be a hassle. In fact, knowing the options available enables you to make optimal decisions. This guide will help you explore the different ways you can send money to Russia.

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How To Send Money To Russia

Sending money to Russia is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.

Find a Trusted Provider

Use our comparison table to find the best provider for your needs.

Sign Up and Deposit

Sign up with the provider and deposit the amount you want to transfer.

Transfer Money

As soon as you're ready, you can start sending money online.

Ways To Send And Receive Money In Russia

There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Russia but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about sending and receiving money. 

Sending Money To Russia
Receiving Money In Russia

Ways to Send Money to Russia

Russia has been in the cross-hairs of geopolitical forces that have affected among other things the movement of funds in an out of the country. Thanks to technology, banks and peer to peer (P2P) money transfer service providers have made significant progress connecting Russians in the diaspora with their families back home.

Bank-to-Bank SWIFT Transfers

Diaspora Russians can transfer money to their families, friends and business partners back home through the SWIFT network. Interestingly, as from 2014, Russia started developing an alternative to the SWIFT mechanism to cushion itself against risks of sanctions that would affect the SWIFT network.

The System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) is now up and running offering a variety of services one of which is financial institution transfers. Over 18% of money transfers in Russia are going through the SPFS and as of November 1, 2019, over 390 participants had already enrolled in the system among them Asian banks.

Due to currency control processes, sending money through the banking system to Russia can be a nightmare. The law requires financial institutions to have a correspondent account with the Russian Central Bank for them to transfer funds to the country.

Because of these tough regulations, sending money through the bank can be expensive, result in cancellations, reversals and delays. Some of the top banks in Russia to consider when transferring money are Sberbank, VTB Bank, GazpromBank and Alfa Bank JSC.

When sending money to Russia from the UK, through Barclays Plc, you will be charged £0 for online banking, but there will be receiving fees of £13 for payments between £0 and £2,600. Payments over £10,000 are charged a receiving fee of £50. If you send money through the branch, you will be charged £25 or £40 if you are in priority banking. This excludes any recipient fees you may have to pay. Transfers can only be in GBP, EUR, USD.

Online Money Transfer Services

One alternative to banks when sending money to Russia is online money transfer providers. This category includes companies such as Azimo, WorldRemit, TransferGo, TransferWise, and OFX.

Once you sign up for a transfer account, input the recipient details, the amount you want to send, and pay for your transfer, the provider will do the rest. Typically transfers can take up to 3 days depending on the payout option. You can pay for your transfer using a credit card, debit card or bank transfer.

There are three payout methods you can opt for when transferring money through online transfer providers.

  • Bank Deposit- Money is deposited into the recipient’s bank account. This can take anywhere between 1-3 days. Bank deposits are convenient when sending large transfers.
  • Cash Pickup -Azimo and WorldRemit are some of the providers that allow you to transfer money to your family and friends in Russia through their agency network. The recipient collects the money in cash. Azimo has a total of 4,700 locations in Russia. Cash Pickups are best suited for small transfers.
  • Airtime Top-Up-You can also send your friends and family the gift of talk time by reloading their phones directly through the online transfer platform. WorldRemit and Azimo are at the forefront in offering the direct mobile recharge service.

In-Store Cash Transfers

Money transfer operators such as Western Union and MoneyGram allow its customers to send money to Russia through direct to bank or cash pickup options. Western Union offers direct-to-bank transfers of up to 4,000.00 EUR and cash pickups of up to 5,000.00 EUR.

Western Union payout quote and receipt can be generated in both USD and Russian Ruble (RUB). The recipient can collect the money in either currency. MoneyGram transfers to Russia allow up to a maximum of 6000.00 GBP to a cash pickup location. Unlike Western Union, MoneyGram doesn’t have the direct-to-bank option when sending to Russia from the United Kingdom.

Paypal, Yandex and WebMoney

Sending to a recipient in Russia through Paypal, Yandex or WebMoney is another channel you can use to send money to your loved ones. All the above methods work in a similar manner where the money ends up in a virtual wallet from where you can withdraw to a local bank.

Yandex has over 18 million e-wallets, while WebMoney has more than 30 million registered users. Compared to the online money transfer providers, e-wallet solutions may add another layer of fees and exchange rate conversion margins. That being said, you can pay your bills right from the e-wallet without the need to withdraw the cash.

What is Needed to Send Money to Russia

When sending money to Russia, the information you’ll be asked to give will depend on the country you are sending from and the provider you choose. Typically, you will be required to give the following:

  • A government issued-ID document to identify you as the sender.
  • The recipient’s name as it appears on their Internal Russian passport or other acceptable legal documents
  • The recipient’s physical address and their phone number
  • If you are sending directly to a bank account, the recipient bank details (bank name, branch and account number). Ensure to include the beneficiary’s bank BIK code and the VO code of the currency transaction.
  • The amount of money you want to send, the transfer payment option and payout methods

Best Ways To Send Money To Russia

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Top Provider
Amount Received
By Cash Pickup
$1,000.00
USD
Fees: $34.99
Rate: 1.00000
Payment Options
Speed
Debit Card
1-2 Hours
Credit Card
1-2 Hours
Bank Transfer
1-2 Hours
Key Features
First 3 Transfers Free
Cash pickup to over 170,000 locations
No domestic transfers
Current Mid-Market Rate: 1 USD = 75.4973 RUB
* Some rates may be indicative.

Common Reasons for Sending Money to Russia

Transfers to Russia are utilised for different purposes. The spectrum of reasons is almost inexhaustible but the following are the common pull and push factors for remittances to Russia.

Household Support

Diaspora Russians with families living in Russia often send money home for family support.

Wages and Salaries

Some of the remittances to Russia are for payment of salaries for their Russia-based staff and freelancers.

Transfers of own funds

Whether it is funds generated from the sale of assets abroad or earnings repatriation back home, diaspora Russians have been using banks and online providers to send money to their home country

Vendor payments

Suppliers of goods and services based in Russia are normally paid in their home currency by their overseas clients.

Investment in Real Estate

Since the passing of legislation that brought into force the Land Code of 2001, the Russian property market has seen increased activity. People living outside Russia can now own property and have the right to use. Some of the funds sent are used to pay for registration fees,  notaries´ fees, taxes, agents´ fees, and lawyers´ fees.

Debt Repayments

Any loan commitments Russians in the diaspora have back home or their families debt obligations are among the reasons they send money.

Why Send Money with a Money Transfer Service?

Money transfer service providers have endeared themselves to diaspora Russians. The speed of transfers, the fees, the attractive rates and reliability are just some of the features that money transfer providers are leveraging.

Low Transfer Fees

Apart from the payment method fees such as credit card fees and ACH fees which are charged by third party payment solution providers, the fees charged by payment service providers are minimal.

Speed of Transfer

It takes between 1-3 days for money transfer providers to deliver your funds to Russia. Compared to most banks this speed is unbeatable.

Exchange Rate Margins

Money transfer service providers charge a small margin on top of the mid-market rate. Most of the margins lie between 0.5% and 3%. TransferWise is among a few money transfer providers that do not charge any margin, the funds are exchanged at the interbank rate.

Multi-Currency Support

With inflows coming in as far as the Philippines, Vanuatu and Seychelles, the need for a multicurrency platform cannot be overemphasized. Money transfer providers support 50+ global currencies.

Security and reliability

Country specific organisations such as Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorise and regulate these providers. Customers are assured that all security measures are put in place.

Simple to Set Up

It takes a few minutes to sign up for an account and transfer money to Russia. Banks normally have a lengthy Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure and require lots of documentation before allowing you to open an account.

Things to Consider When Sending Money to Russia

Before you send money to Russia, there are certain factors you need to bear in mind. Failure to do so may inconvenience the recipient or interfere with your transfer.

  • Clean up of Unstable Financial Institutions-The bank of Russia is on a mission to revoke licences of financial institutions that cannot account for or guarantee the integrity of the funds they receive from depositors. It is important to know the affected institutions before sending.
  • Accounts at Foreign Finance Organisations – According to the new law 265-FZ passed in August 2019, Russian residents are permitted to operate accounts at foreign financial institutions that may not necessarily be banks. However, such accounts must be declared to the Russian tax authorities.
  • Reports on Movements of Money -If in any reporting year for tax purposes a Russian resident received money into their bank account that exceeds RUB 600,000, they should report such inflows to the tax authorities. 
  • DTA between the UK and Russia -Any remuneration or pension paid to a Russian resident in relation to their past employment in the UK, will be taxed in Russia and not the UK. This measure was put in place as part of the double tax agreement (DTA) between the two countries.

Therefore, sending money to Russia is such a simple, fast and painless process with online money transfer providers. However, you need to do your homework, read through money transfer provider reviews and compare their main features before settling on one or the other.

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Looking to Send Money Somewhere Else? 

Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to Russia. If you're looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.

Jonathan Merry

Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com