Online FX is something that millions of users in Russia are using
Those who’ve mastered FX for their products, now offer this as a customer-facing service, seeing demand from the mobile savvy population in Russia
Buying dollars has become, amid time of social insecurity, volatile Russian ruble, bank runs and other maladies, a favourite fallback scenario for millions of Russian households. Of actively engaged population of 70–72 million, many are creating cushions in FX and about 10 per cent according to expert estimates seek additional comfort in buying foreign currency amid the time of trouble.
According to Russian Central Bank, Russian families have over USD 87 billion in major freely-traded currencies, roughly half of it — in USD. A further additional USD 40–50 billion are stored in cash at home.
Recently the best exchange rate for retail customers could be found in numerous semi-regulated exchange points-of-sale — but it largely has been to the fact these POS allowed black market cash to escape the grasp of authorities, subsidizing the cost of operations — so a regulatory ban pushed the retail cash FX to bank branches — and the rates (the gap between buy/sell) are bigger.
Hence an innovative offer from FX specialists to:
- Address the sizeable market of FX for security and savings, not remittance and active trading;
- Utilise their competence and volumes to offer a competitive rate;
- Leverage digital literacy of a growing population.
Golden Crown, a major prepaid and remittance business in Russia and CIS (more on them here) has been offering digital FX for some time now. It allows a user to lock-in a course through the FX competence the company has built to enable its remittance business — and get the money through AFT transaction on a card or via bank to bank transfer to a bank account. The user also pays with a RUB card on the website and transaction happens within seconds thanks to card-to-card rails successfully operating in Russia.
FX trading businesses are also in the fray with their portals — using largely bank transfers as they typically offer larger minimum value to exchange.