Online Retail for the former Soviet republics


I am curious as to whether anyone has any insight into running a online retail business in the former Soviet Republics. Most of the western world is quite used to Credit Cards, and other electronic forms of payments. This is not the case for most people within the former Soviet states where Cash and Carry is still the norm.

With the credit or rather debit cards and other electronic forms becoming available to more people how worried should I be about Credit card fraud? and are there any possibilities for me as a merchant to prevent it?

Online Retail

asked Feb 17 '12 at 09:03
1,779 points
  • I live in Poland, and Poland is not a Former SR, however you might find this information useful. I buy a lot of stuff online, but I only use Visa when buying flight tickets, and I've never used PayPal or other systems of the kind. For most of my transcations I pay with automatic online bank transfers. I don't need a credit or debit card as I simply use my bank account to pay, and the process is fully automated. I only have to confirm the ammount and enter my password. That's it. I've never met such a form of payment in England though, but it might be available in countries you ask about. – Lukeshek 10 years ago
  • @lukeshek Thank you but that isn't the issue. – Karlson 10 years ago
  • What makes you say that the former CCCP is not used to credit cards? – Tim J 9 years ago
  • @TimJ Experience. Most people still prefer cash to cards. I do know that there is a lot of presence of cards in the country but not as much as in the West. Plus the prevalence of black market business dictates lack of traceability. – Karlson 9 years ago

1 Answer


Amended answer Fraud is a huge risk with any international clients. Many sellers simply limit the list of countries, to which they ship, for their own safety. You can always refuse orders to customers in the ex-USSR, which is actually 15 different countries and 3 of them are now in the EU.

In the last couple of years, several businesses were created to circumvent this protection because ex-USSR consumers want goods from the USA for many reasons. Immigrants from some of those countries who live in the USA place orders for domestic delivery, pay with the US accounts, ship the products to the final destination, and collect money from the consumer. This way the risk to US e-tailers is minimized because they're dealing with US entities that are subjects to US laws (unless they flee the country).

Original answer The main problem with e-commerce in ex-USSR isn't payment systems, which are abundant, but delivery methods. The government post is unreliable and international courier services, such as UPS and TNT, are too expensive. As a result, some regions have no access to major e-tailers and others have peculiar methods, such as a "local distribution center" where all orders from the city come in X times a week & customers come to pick them up.

As for payment methods, they vary from country to country because banking systems & regulations are different. The top three are:

  1. Cash to the courier at delivery
  2. Debit card payment
  3. E-payment solution, such as Yandex.Money, Qiwi, and WebMoney
Some e-tailers also support direct wire transfers and "money orders" (similar to Western Union but done through the state post).
answered Feb 17 '12 at 15:15
1,963 points
  • Logistics problems are solvable but when you have people paying you through PayPal and then recalling the money because of fraud or the fact that you really can't verify a "billing address" really isn't. The question is really regarding solving that problem rather then others. – Karlson 10 years ago
  • @Karlson: Wow. I totally misread your question. Thanks for not downovting my answer. I've updated it with the info you wanted. – Dnbrv 10 years ago
  • I'll leave the answer unaccepted for now to see if we get anymore but what you suggest is a possible solution. – Karlson 10 years ago

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Online Retail