Last week, PayPal received its license as a “Non-Credit Banking Institution” (NCBI) from the Central Bank of Russia. The international online payment giant is now allowed to work in accordance with the country’s law on payments, which was enacted in 2011. The first step of the approval procedure was completed in March.

“PayPal Russia is now preparing its Russian launch, which will happen later in 2013,” said PayPal Russia PR director Karina Grosheva in an exchange with East-West Digital News. “After getting the license, there are still a number of regulatory and commercial stages that need to be completed before we can offer our services to Russian consumers.”

PayPal has been operating more actively within the Russian market since late 2011, when its local users were allowed to receive money in their virtual wallets, opening the way for their participation on eBay.

However, Russian users could neither use Pay Pal to make purchases on Russian sites nor transfer funds from their PayPal account to a Russian bank account.

These operations will be made possible only after the payment operator is fully launched in Russia. When that occurs, however, PayPal will be facing competition from  some well-established local electronic currency operators. Among them are: Yandex.Money, which is owned jointly by the country’s leading search engine Yandex and the national savings bank Sberbank; Qiwi, which successfully went public earlier this month; and Webmoney, a Russian e-currency compay that operates internationally.