With recent speculation on the subject of a Google wallet – it is interesting to see that Yandex have done exactly that. They announced the re-launch of their Yandex Money today, a system similar to PayPal which will enable users to pay, transfer and receive payments over the internet.
Yandex Money is a joint project between Yandex and PayCash, with the first tentative version launched in 2002. The version released today works without any additional software downloads and offers far easier integration for merchants and users.
“Yandex Money became today a fully-fledged part of our portal”, announced Arkady Volozh, General Director of Yandex. “Now electronic payments are as simple to use as email or searching”. With monthly transactions totaling 300m rubles (£6m/$10.5m) for August, it does seem they are on the right track.
Of course one of the early adopters was their very own Yandex Direct PPC system. This allowed merchants to pay via online banking or at many physical locations including banks, post offices and money exchange centres.
In a country where the credit card rollout is limited, this gives Yandex the edge against their foreign competitors. Google for example will only accept credit card payments for Adwords, making their advertising services inaccessible to many small and medium sized merchants in Russia. As the HSBC advert goes, never underestimate the power of local knowledge.