Fintech

Q&A: Why Russian banks should embrace millennials ahead of Chinese competition

VTB’s head of digital transformation highlights the danger of losing a generation of customers to Chinese fintech startups.

In a trendy fish restaurant in central Moscow, a smartly dressed waiter glides between customers taking payment. He says that roughly half of his young and fashionable diners pay with a credit card, about 40% via smartphone apps and 10% use smartwatches. No one pays in cash anymore he says, arching an eyebrow.

Russians are quickly adopting digital methods of paying for goods and services, disrupting traditional brick-and-mortar banks. World Bank data shows that 70.5% of Russians made or received digital payments in 2018, up from 53.4% in 2014.

This sea change in behaviour offers local banks the chance to know customers’ spending habits intimately if they...

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