Russia’s leading electronic payment system Yandex.Dengi has announced that starting today clients can transfer their electronic funds to Visa and MasterCard bankcards. To transfer funds from a Yandex.Dengi account, users need to provide the bankcard number after which the funds will become available in the course of one to two working days.
Previously, Yandex.Dengi only provided bankcard funds transfer facilities with three Russian banks – Alfa-Bank, Otkrytia and Rosvrobank – and transfers to card accounts took almost a week.
The new changes allow for clients to transfer money to any Russian bank-issued Visa card or MasterCard. MasterCard card owners can also transfer fund to cards held in 24 countries outside Russia. Up to 75,000 rubles can be transferred at a commission rate of 15 rubles plus 3 percent of the sum transferred.
“The new service will help Yandex.Dengi work more closely with foreign audiences – for example, with freelancers from Ukraine, or Kazakhstan, who receive money from Russian employers, or for those for whom it is important to quickly send money to their relatives and friends in Europe or in any country of the CIS,” Gazeta.ru quoted a statement from Yandex.Dengi as saying.
Yandex.Dengi did not provide any financial estimates for the new service, but said in spring of 2011 that two years of cooperation with Alfa-Bank saw 4 billion rubles transferred from Yandex.Dengi accounts to Alfa-Bank cards.
Gazeta.ru reported that experts were divided over the potential benefits for the company.
“These services are in demand and are with the spirit of the times,” the web portal quoted Viktor Dostov, chairman of the Electronic Money association, as saying. Boris Kim, chairman of the Committee on Payment Systems and Banking Instruments of the National Association of E-commerce, disagreed.
“It is hardly likely that the new feature will increase the user base of Yandex.Dengi because other companies, such as Qiwi Koshelyok are offering such transfers,” said Kim.
RIA Novosti reported that Yandex.Dengi completes more than 80,000 transactions daily.
Putin’s social projects to cost $170 billion - research
by Natasha Doff at 17/02/2012 18:41
A range of social spending pledges outlined by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in a newspaper article earlier this week could cost the Russian budget 5.1 trillion rubles ($170 billion) over the next six years, the Sberbank Center of Macroeconomic Research has found.
The research note published this week analyses the cost to the government of projects to increase public sector pay, raise social benefit payments and reduce the cost of housing.
All were policies laid out in an election campaign article by Putin, the leading presidential candidate, in an article published in Kommsomolskay Pravda Monday.
The research found that spending on the specific pledges in Monday’s article would constitute an annual average of 0.84 percent of GDP annually. The figure could be higher if added to other social spending projects proposed by the government.
The Sberbank figure also does not include some of the vaguer policies pitched by Putin in the article that were too difficult to quantify in financial terms, such as those to bridge social divides and lowering alcohol consumption.
“Unfortunately, a lack of detailed statistical data and detail in the measures outlined in the article, doesn’t allow us to accurately calculate the volume of spending required for their realization,” the report said.
The most expensive pledge, the research center found, was a promise to raise the pay of doctors, school teachers and university lecturers, which will cost 3.5 trillion rubles ($117 billion) over six years.
In his article, Putin put the price tag on the pay increases at around $30 billion, or 1.5 percent of GDP.
Many economists and political analysts described Putin’s article as populist and questioned how realistic the proposals were in the current economic uncertainty.
“There is a lot of discussion now about how to balance the budget given all these obligations,” Citibank strategist Andrei Kuznetsov told The Moscow News. “Now the government is discussing either which areas of spending to cut or which areas of taxation to increase.”
He said that increasing social taxes – currently the government’s preferred policy – would only raise a limited amount of funds because previous attempts have only led to a growth in the shadow economy.
Currently the government is also discussing cuts to military and defense spending, a policy popular with former Russian finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, who quit the government last fall over a dispute about spending policies.
Alexei Devyatov, chief economist at the Uralsib investment bank, said that a more effective way to create funds for increased social spending would be to increase budge spending efficiency by clamping down on corruption.
“Medvedev said in late 2010 that his estimate of corruption in the state procurement system was about 1 trillion rubles [$33 billion] per year,” Devyatov told The Moscow News “It think the real figure is more than that, but even at this level, over the next five years, it would be enough to finance social spending.