YooMoney — very popular in Russia and not the best e-wallet for international users.
What is YooMoney?
YooMoney has been owned by a Russian leading technology company Yandex.com which is the local equivalent of Google. The state lender Sberbank which initially held Yandex.com “golden shares,” has decided to part ways and end its decade-long strategic partnership. As Yandex plans to expand its technology services, it will purchase Sberbank’s shares in Yandex. Market and sell its 25% stake in Yandex.Money, thus making it the sole owner. Sberbank has also announced to rebrand Yandex.Money to Yoo Money by the end of 2020; however, the service will continue its operations as usual. Additionally, Yandex was in talks to acquire a 100% stake in Moscow-based Tinkoff Bank. However, both parties could not agree on the terms and decided to end the negotiations.
Residents of Russia and other CIS countries can use this e-wallet to make online payments. YooMoney operates both business-to-business and business-to-consumer financial services. It acts as a bridge between the Russian market and the rest of the world. If you are a resident of Russia or do business here, you will be able to access numerous benefits of this well-equipped digital wallet.
YooMoney is regulated by the Bank of Russia, and users in other countries find it difficult to follow the new law set out by the Russian government. Recently, Russia introduced some changes to its federal laws relating to the “National Payment System law” that restricts YooMoney and other e-wallets. It imposes restrictions on depositing cash to anonymous wallets and requires users to pass the identification test and link a bank account.
- The YooMoney e-wallet is available for immediate use after registration
- It is a multi-currency account and supports ten currencies, including Euro, Dollar, and British Pound
- YooMoney MasterCard allows users to earn cashback bonuses
- It is more functional than other e-wallets such as PayPal. Users can pay bills, fines, taxes, buy movie tickets or stocks, among other useful services
- Allows linking with a Webmoney account
- No fee or commission on making deposits onto trading platforms
- The free international virtual card in a single click
- The website is mainly in the Russian language
- Users outside Russia must translate and notarize their passports for account verification
- The primary target market is Russia and CIS countries
- The free YooMoney virtual MasterCard or Visa card can’t be used without completing the identification process
Is YooMoney e-wallet safe to use?
Yes, it is safe and reliable because it employs all the security protocols of PCI DSS, the Payment Card Industry's information security standards. YooMoney fully complies with the twelve robust information security requirements by the PCI Security Standards Council developed by Visa, MasterCard, and others.
YooMoney account registration
To open an e-wallet, users need to visit the official page of the service. If you can't understand the Russian language, you can change it to English from the main page's lower right corner. Now select the "Open a Wallet" option and input the required information along with the mobile number. I suggest paying attention when entering the mobile number as you will be receiving short texts from the services.
After the form is submitted and the account is created, you will be redirected to the main user page. Clients outside Russia still can't take advantage of the account unless they verify their identities. Apart from uploading identification documents and filling in the application form, they must translate and notarize these into Russian before sending these to the service's Moscow office for verification. You can view the details along with the application form. Because this process requires so much effort, YooMoney has not grown much outside Russia and the CIS area.
Even the foreigners living in Russia must visit any of the five physical offices of the service in person; otherwise, they can't use their e-wallets to make online purchases. They must present their passport, visa, stamped immigration card, and provide a valid local address to use the wallet's funds.
International users have difficulties communicating with the service's support team due to the language barrier. Apart from the arduous verification process, this is another big problem that earned many bad reviews. The YooMoney official website does not guide international users much about the limitations and conditions of opening a wallet. Users are allowed to register and add funds to the e-wallet. But when they want to make online payments, the service freezes their funds and asks to verify the account. Many customers complained that Yandex froze their funds, and the verification process literally takes ages, so they had no choice but to use any other payment method.
Topping up your YooMoney e-wallet
The service allows Turkey, Latvia, and Lithuania residents to top up their e-wallets through Visa or MasterCard. However, these residents have limited access to all options and can’t withdraw money without account verification. Users in the US and other EU countries have these options:
- Receive money from another YooMoney user.
- Transfer funds via bank
Account status and limits
The service assigns three statuses to user accounts:
- Reviewed (only for Russian users)
After the registration, users are assigned an anonymous status. As I have mentioned earlier, in summary, a cash ban has been implemented on replenishing these accounts. Unless anonymous users pass the verification requirements, they can only fill their wallets online. Furthermore, these users can’t make a transfer and keep more than 15,000 rubles. For anonymous users, all transactions are processed in rubles. If you have not completed the identity verification process and received funds in a currency that differs from your account currency (only rubles), a 2% currency conversion will be applied. However, after completing the verification process, you can open multi-currency accounts (10 currencies are available). no other currency.
YooMoney physical and virtual cards
YooMoney offers prepaid physical and virtual cards to allow them to access their funds anywhere. You can order a physical MasterCard for a nominal fee. With this card, you can withdraw cash from local and foreign ATMs and make payments at online or physical stores. This card comes with a multi-currency package and allows you to transfer money, buy currency, and win cashback on bonus points online and for categories of the month. Russian and EU residents can use this card for payments in Russian stores. This card supports Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, etc. See the details, fees, and other conditions here.
You can also create a free international virtual card to pay in stores where YooMoney is not accepted. This card can’t be used to pay at physical stores or for cash withdrawals. You can link this card to online shopping services operating internationally- PayPal, Amazon, Google Play, etc.
Yandex also issues a fully functional bank card without the user’s name. If your wallet is anonymous, you can only use this card in Russia.
YooMoney multi-currency account
YooMoney e-wallet is a multicurrency account and allows users to keep funds and pay in ten major currencies: USD, EURO, POUND, YEN, YUAN, FRANCS, etc. even users can earn cashback in rubles as well as in these currencies. The service automatically determines which currency to use when you are making payments in different currencies. This service is beneficial for users currently vacationing or living outside Russia. Freelancers can also use this package to receive earnings from their clients in other currencies. Currently, this service is only available to users who have passed the identification process.
YooMoney mobile app
With the YooMoney app, users can add funds to their trading accounts, prepaid cards, and mobile phones. They can also pay internet and utility bills, transfer money, and earn cash back on both online and offline payments but only in Russia and CIS countries. Apart from that, this app has nothing special to offer. I feel that this app provides great access to Russian merchants, service providers, and users, but it is not worthy of international users.
Why prefer YooMoney for online igaming?
Russian banks are prohibited from processing payments from online igaming platforms. There is no need to go through the usual banking channel, and in my opinion, this is a loophole in the local payments system. I will warn online players here; you should be aware of the applicable laws and play at your own risk. You would be subjected to fines if local authorities caught you playing at an illegal igaming website. Whether gamers play online in Russia or on foreign soil, they must follow the local rules, report their winnings, and pay applicable taxes.
Due to strict Russian laws and account verification rules, foreign gamers prefer Skrill or NETELLER over YooMoney. The key reason is that they may not be able to withdraw their winnings. Furthermore, it is not a widely accepted method on online igaming platforms and is more relevant to the Russian market.
There are many ways for the merchants to receive money on YooMoney: online store/website, integrating Yandex with supported CRMs such as MS Dynamics, other systems with paid services and users, mobile application, mPOS, email service in your merchant profile, social networks, messengers, and live chats.
Non-Russians have limited options to add funds to their YooMoney account. Residents of Turkey, Lithuania, and Latvia can top-up their YooMoney account through Visa and MasterCard credit cards. Other EU and US residents can only top-up through bank transfer or by receiving funds from another YooMoney user.
YooMoney is already a multi-currency service which means users can spend and keep funds in ten foreign currencies including EUR. You can easily open a foreign currency account in EUR for free, and add money to it even from your Ruble account.
Users can store a credit card in their YooMoney wallet for future payments apart from adding funds via bank transfer. YooMoney lets you link a card, so you can pay even without adding money.