Moscow – Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and QIWI Limited, a leading provider of payment services in Russia, have formed a strategic alliance to introduce a digital wallet that will enable consumers to access a wide variety of electronic payment options.

The wallet builds on the existing, successful relationship between Visa and QIWI, the leading provider of digital wallets in Russia and issuer of Visa cards. It will assist Visa in providing innovative new services to Visa cardholders, and will enable QIWI to extend their kiosk and digital wallet services internationally.

Over the past five years, QIWI has introduced more than 100,000 cash kiosks on street corners, at subway stations and merchant locations helping over 50 million Russian consumers monthly to convert cash into electronic payments. This has resulted in $12 billion in electronic payment volume in 2011, a significant step for Russia where more than 90% of payments are still cash-based. The QIWI Wallet, with more than 10 million active consumer accounts, will be linked to Visa prepaid payment functionality and services. This will extend the reach of electronic payments and utility of Visa cards in Russia. As part of the agreement, QIWI and Visa will transition the QIWI wallet from a single bank model to a digital wallet with a stored value account based on Visa prepaid card that can be issued by any Visa client-bank.

Over the course of 2013, QIWI and Visa will work to open the QIWI platform to other Visa issuers in Russia and CIS.

This will allow consumers to pay over 27,000 merchants and to make person-to-person payments at millions of retailers that accept Visa worldwide. Consumers can also use the wallet for payments via various interfaces including web, mobile, social networks and at self-service kiosks. “In a country like Russia, where cash is king, we need to provide clear incentives to consumers to move towards electronic payments, which are more secure, convenient and efficient. The pairing up of Visa and QIWI, which we are announcing today, offers a powerful new solution to making this happen. The agreement brings together two assets: Visa’s extensive retail payments network and a digital wallet solution, which is leading-edge here in Russia. Visa is very excited about the possibilities this presents for Russian consumers to make payments in new ways,” said Elizabeth Buse, Group President of APCEMEA at Visa, Inc.

“Working with Visa helps us accelerate the growth of QIWI Wallet and QIWI Kiosks to other countries beyond Russia and CIS, and allows us to offer convenient and accessible electronic payment options to consumers. The combination of QIWI technology and Visa international payment system opens up a wide variety of payment products and services for banks, mobile operators, billers, e-merchants and retailers,” said Sergey Solonin, QIWI CEO.

“Visa has a proud history of bringing innovation to Russia – from “wave and pay” purchases with Visa payWave enabled cards, to Visa Personal Payments that allow Russian consumers to send money to friends and family living abroad, to enabling merchants to directly connect to VisaNet network and supporting mobile acceptance solutions – the Visa QIWI Wallet is the latest example of how Visa is bringing innovative payment solutions to Russian consumers and merchants, making payments more secure and more convenient–,” said Steven Parker, Group Country Manager, Visa, Russia, CIS and SEE.

  • About Visa Inc.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.