Last Updated on November 30, 2023 by Irena Domingo
In this article I tell you my personal experience sending money to Russia using some methods that are currently working such as Advcash, Profee, YooMoney or Binance.
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Methods that work (and those that don’t)
With the economic sanctions imposed on Russia, it has become increasingly difficult for me to send money to my relatives in Russia. This has meant that I have had to look for alternatives.
If before the conflict with Ukraine I used money transfer services such as Wise, after the sanctions I started using the Koronapay mobile application. However, this service also stopped working a few months ago, so I started to try other services such as Profee, Advcash or Unistream.
In this article I will explain the methods that I have tried and that currently work to send money to Russia. And I emphasize “currently” because what works now may not work tomorrow, so I will try to keep this article updated.
I will begin by summarizing the current situation. Methods that DO NOT WORK to send money to Russia:
- Wire transfers do not work, as Russian banks have been banned from the SWIFT system.
- Traditional money transfer methods such as Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria Money, etc. do not work.
- Western online payment services such as PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Wallet, Skrill, PaySend, Revolut, Payoneer, etc. do not work.
- P2P financial services such as Wise, Azimo, WorldRemit, Xe Money Transfer, etc. do not work.
Currently WORKING methods to send money to Russia:
- Send money using Advcash electronic payment system. I have tested it and it works for any Russian bank.
- Send money with Profee. I have tested it and it works in some Russian banks.
- Sending money via YooMoney (formerly Yandex Money). For foreigners, the account verification process is complicated. I haven’t tried it, but I know people who have used it.
- Send money to Russia via cryptocurrency exchange companies such as Binance. I have not tried this method, but I know people who have used it. However, the latest news indicates that Binance is going to withdraw from the Russian market.
I will explain each of the methods that I have tried and that have worked for me, as well as those where I know people who have used them successfully.
Option 1: Advcash
(UPDATE: Advcash works in most countries around the world, except the USA and UK. So if you are from the USA or UK you can go directly to option 2).
The most complete method for sending money to Russia is Advcash (Advanced Cash Limited), which allows you to send and receive electronic payments. The company, created by Russians, is licensed by the Belize Financial Services Commission, I assume than for tax reasons and because of laxer regulation to cope with sanctions.
You must register by choosing a personal account. The account verification process is quick and consists of sending a copy of your ID or passport and taking a selfie. To extend the money limits of the account you are also required to send proof of your address by sending a utility bill.
When I signed up with Advcash the verification process took about 15 minutes.
The advantage of Advcash over other methods like Profee is that it allows you to send money to any Visa or MasterCard issued in Russia. It also allows you to send money to any MIR card. And, of course, you can also send money to any European card. The downside is that the process is done in two steps (first you have to top up the account and then send the money) and that fees are applied at each step.
Advcash accepts the following currencies: Euro (EUR), Dollar (USD), Pound (GBP), Russian Ruble (RUB), Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH), Kazakh Tenge (KZT), Brazilian Real (BRL), Turkish Lira (TRY) , Vietnamese Dong (VND) and the Azerbaijani Manat (AZN).
As I said, the process of sending money is done in two steps:
First step. You have to top up your Advcash account. You can do it in three ways;
- By SEPA transfer: it costs 3.50 euros and takes 1 to 3 business days.
- Through your Visa, MasterCard or UnionPay card: the cost is 3.5% and the recharge is instantaneous.
- Through cryptocurrencies: in this case it is free for Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
However, depending on the country in which you create the account, the payment systems for topping up the account may be different. Thus, Advcash allows many methods, depending on the country, among which are the following: Wire transfer, Paypal, Revolut, AliPay, Skrill, MoneyGram, WebMoney, AlfaBank, Binance, BitTorrent, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold. BitCoin SV, 0xproject, Algorand, Augur, Avangard, BAT, Capitalist, Cardano, Cash, Chainlink, China UnionPay, Contact, Cosmos, Credit Card, Cryptex, Currency Exchanges, Dai, Dash, Dogecoin, Eos, Epay, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Exmo, Forte Bank, Garantex, Gazprombank, Global24, Goldencrown, HUMO, Halyc Bank, Home Credit Bank, ICON, IOTA, Idram, Jisan Bank, Kaspi Bank, Komodo, Kukuruza, Kuna Exchange, Lisk Litecoin, MTS Bank, Maker, Mir, Mobile Balance, Monero, MonoBank, NEM, NEO, Neteller, NixMoney, OmiseGO, Ontology, Openbank, Oschadbank, PUMB, Pax Dollar, Paxum Ewallet, PaySera, Paymer, Payoneer, Polkadot, Polygon, Post Bank, PrivatBank, Promsvyazbank, QIWI Wallet, Qtum, RNCB, RSBank, RaiffeisenBank, Ravencoin, Ria Money Transfer, Ripple, Rosbank, Russian Agricultural Bank, Sberbank, Solana, Stellar, TCS Bank, TRON, Tether, Tezos, TrueUSD, UNI, USD Coin, UZCARD, UkrSibbank, Uniswap, VTB, VeChain, ValesPay, Verge, WU, Waves, WhiteBIT, Wrapped Bitcoin, YooMoney, Zcash, ecoPayz, etc.
Second step. Once you have money in your account, you can now send money to a Russian card. It is not necessary for the recipient to have an account with AdvCash. You can send money to any Russian card. The fee is 50 rubles plus 2.5% of the total amount sent. For sending 600 euros to a Russian card, I was charged 15.50 euros.
In summary, for sending 600 euros I paid 19 euros commission, the 3.50 euros commission for topping up the account by transfer and the 15.50 euros commission for sending the money to the Russian card. The euro-ruble exchange rate applied is quite good. If I had used the card to recharge funds, the cost would have been higher: 21 euros for the card recharge and 15.50 euros for sending to a Russian card.
In addition to sending money, Advcash also allows you to purchase a UnionPay card, both physical and virtual. This card allows you to withdraw money at Gazprombank ATMs in Russia and make purchases at those merchants that support it. The physical UnionPay card comes in US dollars, it costs $95 and applies a commission fee of $2.5 per month.
Option 2: Profee
Profee is another method I have found to send money to Russia nowadays. It’s a payment system that I discovered a few months ago by chance through a thread on Reddit and that allows sending money to Russia from your card in euros, dollars or punds to a Russian card in rubles. The company is domiciled in Cyprus.
The good thing is that Profee applies a good exchange rate euro/dollar/pound/ruble, does not apply commissions (at least for the first transfer using this link) and money arrives instantly. The bad thing is that the list of banks to which you can send money is limited. To test it the first time I made a transfer of 100 euros to a Pochta Bank card and the money arrived immediately.
You must create an account following the registration process in which you will have to verify your phone number, your email and send a photo of your ID or passport. You must also take a selfie. If you follow all the steps the verification is done instantly.
The recipient of the money does not need to have a Profee account in order to receive the money. The money will be sent to their Russian card. Please note, however, that currently it is only possible to transfer money to Visa, Mastercard and MIR (Russian payment system) cards issued by some Russian banks, such as:
- Raiffeisen Bank
- Pochta Bank
- UniCredit Bank
- Home Credit Bank
- Renaissance Credit
- Credit Europe Bank
- Ozon Bank
- And other banks
On the other hand, it is not possible to send money to cards issued by the following Russian banks
- Russian Agricultural Bank
- Credit Bank of Moscow
- Bank Saint Petersburg
- MTS Bank
- SMP Bank
- Russian Regional Development Bank
- The Ural Bank for Reconstruction and Development
- Rossiya Bank
- Moscow Industrial Bank
- ZENIT Bank
- And other banks
Please note that the above list is not exhaustive and may change from time to time.
Therefore, the recipient of the transfer must have a card from one of the above-mentioned Russian banks.
Option 3: YooMoney
YooMoney (formerly Yandex Money) is an electronic payment system widely used in Russia and similar to PayPal. It has an e- wallet and allows sending money to Russian cards.
Opening an account is very easy but the problem is that in order to send money you have to go through the account verification process, which is very simple for Russian citizens, but more complicated for foreigners, who have two options:
- If you are in Russia you can go to one of their offices (Moscow, St. Petersburg, etc.) or to a MegaFon cell phone store with your passport to go through the verification process. You can also make an appointment with a YooMoney agent in a Russian city.
- If you are not in Russia the only option is to send a notarized copy of your passport by mail, which is time consuming and costly.
Therefore, this option is only recommended if you are in Russia, in order to be able to verify the account and, in the future, to be able to send money to Russia.
Option 4: Binance
A fourth option is to use cryptocurrency payments with systems such as Binance. This is a system that I personally have not used it, but I have acquaintances who have used it successfully. Anyway, Binance recently posted on its blog that it is going to leave the Russian market, so probably soon this option will stop working.
If you have experience sending money to Russia using cryptocurrencies, please tell me about it in the comments area.
Update October 27, 2023: Koronopay appears to be working again to send money to Russia. If you need a promo code you can use this code: 6F2Y5 (you get 15 euros in your account on the first transfer you send to Russia for an amount greater than 100 euros).
Update November 30, 2023: Another method to send money (and that also works in the USA, Canada and the UK) is Sendnomad. In this link you have a discount on the first transfer for an amount greater than $100.
I hope you found this article useful for sending money to Russia in the current situation. You can leave your comments below.