Russian Businesses Slow to Adopt Electronic Payments: Analyst

    Adoption of electronic B2B payments in Russia is severely limited, but there are big expectations for improvement and innovation, Oksana Korobkina, head of eCommerce at Russian ePayments outfit Yandex.Money told in an interview.

    B2B stands for business-to-business and covers any transactions between businesses. Its complement, B2C, represents business-to-consumer, which includes the bulk of transactions we’re all familiar with.

    Korobkina said the industry should set its sights higher than even the B2C payments space to provide companies with the necessary efficiency and speed they need to get business done. With that goal in mind, she noted, Yandex.Money expects to see the line between B2B and B2C payments disappear.

    “The experience of the customer is going to be very similar — it shouldn’t be worse in the B2B industry, for sure,” she said. “It should be at least the same, but even better, because the volumes of B2B payments are much bigger than B2C.”

    ePayments in Russia have taken off with vigor. A report from Russia’s largest state-owned bank, Sberbank, found that cashless payments in consumer spending jumped to 39 percent in 2017 — up from just 4 percent less than a decade prior.

    Korobkina said it took at least 15 years for Russian consumers to begin to change their behavior and trust ePayment tools, and a similar hesitancy is expected among corporate adopters of electronic payments.

    To move things along, Yandex.Money and Sberbank recently announced the launch of a new B2B payments platform that enables companies to send funds within minutes to their suppliers. The solution, if it can gain traction, would represent a major “leapfrog” moment for the country’s B2B payments industry, which continues to rely on paperwork and lengthy collaboration with banks to move money between businesses.

    “Russia is a country that, right now, doesn’t treat B2B payments equal to B2C payments in terms of ease-of-use,” said Korobkina, the top manager and owner of the new B2B payments product. “Right now, basically all B2B payments are offline.”