I was just in St. Petersburg, Russia and noticed that credit cards were not accepted everywhere, but yet enough places to separate me from my money.
Had I known about Tinkoff Credit Systems when I was in St. Petersburg I would have dropped in to talk to them.
It seems that Tinkoff Credit Systems has been generating a lot of new customers in Russia by promoting their virtual bank and more specifically, their credit card products.
Our cold war friends have an attraction for the credit card, and I’m not surprised, are you? You see the cost of fuel and movies is similar to what we pay in the U.S. and wages there are much lower, about $1,000 a month I was told. Without credit, how can they buy all the stuff they don’t need?
In the face of wanting to have fun and being pitched a credit card, it’s no wonder new customers for Tinkoff Credit Systems have been doubling each year.
According to Tinkoff Credit Systems they currently are number four in marketshare, helped by investments by Goldman Sachs. Citibank is number six.
Part of the success of TCS has to be their marketing relationships and focus. They acquire and service their customers in every city, town and village in Russia through their extensive ecosystem of partners, including the Russian Post Office. – Source
Another part of the success must be the Tinkoff name. Tinkoff began as a brewery in St. Petersburg and its Tinkoff Golden (Zolotoe) was a very popular brew. Ironically, InBev, which now owns Anheuser-Busch also owns the Tinkoff beer line. So you see, apparently we do share a lot with our Russian friends; beer and credit cards.
Credit card issuance is still quite low in Russia, as compared with the U.S. but give them time, soon they will be drowning in debt as well.