According to I-Free – a Russian mobile technology developer – NFC-payments in Russia have reached 4.5 billion rubles (that is $138 million) on the first quarter of 2012 and are predicted to reach 18 billion rubles ($553 million) by the end of the year. These numbers include both cards and mobile contactless payments.
Eleven Russian banks already issue contactless cards and Mastercard says it has over a thousand terminals that support its PayPass system. However, I-Free argues that phone manufacturers are not picking up on the trend and NFC-enabled phones are lacking in the country. Nonetheless, phones already being used to pay for transport fares in Moscow and Saint Petersburg through an NFC sticker so it seems like an easy step towards payments.
Russia’s other NFC projects include a partnership between Mastercard and the Russian Post to install PayPass terminals in 2.000 post offices. At this growth rate Russia is definitely one to watch in the evolution of NFC payments.