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Best form of payment in Russia?

Canada
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670 posts
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Best form of payment in Russia?

It sounds like credit cards are not widely accepted in Russia. I'm wondering what others found when they visited Russia? If I pre-purchase Rubles, and have some left at the end can I exchange them before I leave the country?

Can you easily get Rubles from ATM's in Russia? Thanks for any advice you may have.

Moscow, Russia
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1. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

> It sounds like credit cards are not widely accepted in Russia

Define "widely".

> If I pre-purchase Rubles, and have some left at the end can I exchange them before I leave the country?

Yes.

> Can you easily get Rubles from ATM's in Russia?

Yes.

Banbury
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2. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

I can't say I've noticed any real issue with card payments in Russia, some of the smaller places may not take cards but generally speaking I can't say I've notice any real significant difference to here.

ATM's you may find that when you try with one machine you have no luck, don't worry just try another.

Sberbank/Сбербанк is the biggest bank in Russia and a safe bet when using a foreign bank card, or even Citybank and most have an English language option.

Plymouth, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Moscow
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3. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

I would NOT pre-purchase rubles as you will get ripped off on exchange rate. Just use an ATM and get cash as needed. They at least offer a predictable rate set effectively be the global ATM networks (whether your bank tries to stick you with silly FX conversion fees is a separate question!)...

Durham, NC
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4. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

We recently spent a week in SPB and had no problems using our cards. The only places that did not take them were our taxis and the snack bar in the Hermitage- everywhere else was fine. I did notice that if you use them in a restaurant, there was no place to add a tip on your card, so I always brought cash for tips. Also, Tres Amigos, although the food was delicious, did indeed tell us their card machine was down, as others have joked about on TA, so had to use cash there. We took a small amount of rubles with us, just to be able to tip our driver from the airport, and in case we could not easily locate an ATM, but our hotel had one, so we just withdrew our daily rubles as needed and got a much better rate than on the small amount we had brought with us from home. We had a private guide for 3 of our days, and they gave a 5% discount for payment in cash rather than card, so we were happy to pay in cash!

Canada
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5. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

Thanks everyone, this is very helpful information. Much appreciated.

Moscow
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28 reviews
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6. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

As @CarsonsMommy points out, the tip in restaurants is always paid in cash (maybe some of the high end hotels have a tip option on the bill). So make sure you always have some rubles in hand. Additionally, I've never seen a taxi that accepts credit cards.

Inverness, FL
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7. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

Our experience is that many stores and vendors took our credit cards. But there are also ATMs wherever you look in the larger cities. In the Moscow airport, there was a place to exchange any leftover bills into US dollars. BTW: good luck translating the value of, say, 250 rubles into American dollars. Someone told us to drop the final zero then divide the number by 3. Thus, 250 rubles is APPROXIMATELY $8.

Danville, California
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8. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

Did not have any problem using my credit cards in Moscow even in some tiny shops. However it is always good to have cash as some restaurants and other places do not take cards. Your best bet is to get your cash from ATMs (see other posts in this forum) As noted above always pay restaurant tips in cash so the employee gets it - if you put it on the credit card the money just goes to the owner.

13 posts
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9. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

I think cards are becoming more common. The only issue is every time you use it, you will see a foreign transaction charge on your card from your issuer. The easiest way is to do it inside a bank. (ATM)... It'ssafer. And atm charge too....unless your bank rebates those. Or have your family western Union you the money ( that's a good idea if you don't want to bring lots of cash through customs). I if you exchange dollars for rubles* watch out for commission rates комиссия. They post it next to exchange window. Also, when you outside and see bank' s ad for exchange it would usually he for 1k or higher....something significant....otherwise it maybe lower than that. Always check. They post it by exchange window. So hunting around for better rate may not yield results cause I noticed that the places that have cheaper rates usually have higher commissions to compensate

I say cash :)

Edited: 18 July 2013, 04:22
Virginia
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10. Re: Best form of payment in Russia?

What credit card should we take to Russia? Master Card? Visa? American Express? thank you,