Last week, payment terminal operator Qiwi announced that its users can now transfer money from their Qiwi electronic wallets – named Qiwi Koshelek – to Mastercard and Maestro cards accounts issued by banks from Russia and 24 other countries, primarily in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics.
A commission fee of 2% is applied to the transfers, in addition to a fixed fee of 20 to 40 rubles, or $0.70 to $1.40, applied to Russian and non-Russian card accounts, respectively. The service, named MasterCard MoneySend, will soon be accessible from mobile phones as well as from Qiwi’s 110,000 offline electronic terminals.
Qiwi also announced that users of the Qiwi Koshelek application on Vkontakte.ru, the leading Russian-language social network, can now use Visa and Mastercard cards to pay for goods and services through their Qiwi electronic wallets.
Established in late 2007 following the merger of OSMP and E-port payment systems, Qiwi initially developed a nationwide network of offline electronic payment terminals. Russians are accustomed to paying for virtually everything through these machines, from mobile phone bills, to orders at e-commerce sites, to utilities, taxes, and fines. Over the last few years, Qiwi has grown internationally as well as online through its electronic wallets. As a result, it has tended to become a universal payment system by allowing its users to transfer money to or from their accounts at banks, mobile operators, and virtual currencies.