Friday, June 1, 2007

My Banks and Online Banking

I am a client of two banks. I didn't choose them—I got two debit cards from them in my first year just because I was a student. That's because I also don't pay any fees.

The first bank, the Bank of Moscow, which is the third or fourth largest bank in Russia and is controlled by the government of Moscow, issues debit cards for all students who study in Moscow. These cards, by the way, also can be used as a pass in the Moscow metro system, and the students mainly use them for this purpose. My parents transfer me money on this card, and I heavily use it for everyday purchases.

The second bank, VTB, which is the second largest Russian bank, is the one through which the students of my college get stipends. As I already said (Personal Finance in Russia, 6), debit cards are widely used in corporate world, where wages are put on them. Actually, colleges just followed the trend, and now it seems that every Russian college pays stipends through debit cards. I don't use this second card often. In fact, I used it to accumulate money by not spending the stipend and putting other savings on it.

I didn't even have a checking account until I decided to invest in mutual funds. I chose an investment company that is a subsidiary of the Bank of Moscow. That's how I got my first checking account and my first investments.

Today I signed up for internet banking service of the Bank of Moscow. Though it is not provided by default, the subscription doesn't cost anything. I will not pay for transfers among my accounts, but any other transaction will cost me $0.38. I'm really excited. I will be able to transfer money to a checking/saving account or put it in mutual funds from wherever I am. I still didn't manage to sign in (maybe the registration is not over yet), but I'm waiting impatiently to start working with this system.

It's such a pity that online banking is still not very much wide-spread here. First, all Russian banks are brick-and-mortar. Second, only a few of them allow some kind of online operations. Third, hardly anybody uses it, even if one's bank provides online service. For example, the Bank of Moscow appears to have one of the best internet banking service among Russian banks, but I didn't know about such possibility until very recently.


Krystal said...

Internet banking makes my life so much simpler. Instead of having to go to the bank to do transfers, bill payments, etc, I can just do them in the comfort of home. :)

Hopefully soon, internet banking will become more wide spread in Russia!

Olga said...

It's working at last and it's really great! I've already got used to it.