The Issue is Long Overdue
Bankcards came into our lives some time ago. And Russia is no exception. Thanks to the efforts of leading banks, Russians now hold a substantial number of cards (both debit and credit cards): by various calculations, 210–220, if not as many as 243 million (according to the Central Bank of Russia on 01.01.2016). If we take the population of the RF – 143.5 million – and discount babies, children, some students and pensioners, as not being card users, then there are 100 million people left who actively use these very same cards. In other words, we are left with the fact that in Russia, on average, there are 2.2–2.5 bankcards per active adult citizen. Therefore, more and more often the customer himself (the client), the cardholder as we call him, puts pressure “from below” on the businessman (or merchant) to start accepting card payments. And more and more, representatives of small and medium-sized businesses who previously worked only with cash payments for a whole host of reasons, feel the pressure of market demand and want to be able to accept bankcards.
Now it is compulsory
Therefore, today, one can talk of an explosion in interest in Russia amongst small and medium-sized businesses in acquiring (acceptance of bank payment cards as a way of paying for goods, work, and services).
It is accessible and profitable
It should not remain unsaid that entrepreneurs who previously didn’t accept payments using bankcards and then began to accept them immediately noticed that with acquiring, turnover grows and the number of customers increases owing to those people who prefer to pay by bankcard and do not carry cash. Sometimes the growth in turnover of such people amongst our clients is 25–35%. This, naturally, is both for shops and any area of small to medium-sized business which involves payment for goods, work or services by clients or customers. Incidentally, for the entrepreneur in Russia (whether he is a foreigner or not is irrelevant) introducing acquiring into his business is now no more complicated than it is in Europe or America.
The most basic equipment for card payment acceptance costs at our company, to give an example, 7,900 roubles. This is the so-called Chip & РIN reader (terminal): a device that is compact and easy to use, able to work with bankcards, and is connected to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth (the terminal is compatible with virtually any smartphone or tablet). It is charged using a micro USB and, after being charged once, can carry out hundreds of payments, one after the other. It works with all popular cards featuring chips or magnetic strips (VISA, VISA Electron, MasterCard, Maestro).
Receipts, in such cases, will be of two types. First, electronic (so-called terminal receipts) which are permitted by RF law, in the form of an email or SMS (the customer receives an SMS and can go to the website and view the same receipt there detailing what the purchase was, where it was made, from whom, when, how many purchases there were, and how much money exactly was paid). And the second type of receipt is when the business-owner also connects up a special fiscal printer (there are several models of these mobile printers). Such printers cost, of course, more than our terminal. I have seen them for 20,000 roubles, for 23,000, and for 25,000. The reality is that there are no cheap fiscal printers. All the same, in Russia there are about 15 kinds of activity where there is no obligation to provide a printed receipt for tax purposes (fiscal receipt) (this is for those using UTII – Unified Tax for Imputed Incomes for Individual Activities).
How much does acquiring cost?
What to look out for
First, it is worth taking the trouble to establish how reliable the bank or banks in partnership with your acquiring company are. Banks should be amongst the top ones and appear in at the least the top 100, if not the top ten. For example, our company is one of few, if not the only one, whose bank partners have not had their license revoked. Because we have very reliable partners. In Russia they are Alfa-Bank; in Kazakhstan: The National Bank of Kazakhstan and ATF Bank; in Ukraine: Raiffeisen Bank Aval, OTP Bank, Unex Bank, and Bank Mikhailivsky.
Second, any normal company offering acquiring services doesn’t touch the client’s money. Only the bank should deal with that. Our task is to provide properly working devices, convenient services, a convenient online profile for the client etc.
How to solve the problem?
These days to be connected to acquiring you can go to the website of any company offering these services and submit a request regarding accepting bankcard payments. You also have to upload, along with the request, scanned copies of the following documents:
– certificate of registration;
– certificate of registration with the tax authorities;
– verification of bank account;
– copy of the passport of the Director (or Individual Entrepreneur).
And that’s it. Verification of the information provided by the applicant regarding his business takes no more than two days, after which he will receive a reply and be immediately able to accept bankcard payments for his goods or services. The devices for dealing with bankcards (readers, printers, everything you need) will be delivered to the address indicated by the applicant at a time convenient to the client.