Russian search engine Yandex has expanded its online payment system Yandex.Money – a local PayPal competitor – to other CIS countries, including Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
Launched in 2002, Yandex.Money enable users to transfer money between accounts and make payments via the Internet. It currently supports over 3,000 online retailers in Russia and internationally, including Skype.
And while the system uses rubles as its currency, to support payment for purchases made in international stores, such as Amazon.com or Apple’s App Store, Yandex.Money offers a virtual payment card in US dollars or euros. The move by Yandex to broaden support for Yandex.Money is said to be a reflection of the way Internet use is developing in the rest of the CIS region and with it the online economy.
Jane Zavalishina, CEO of Yandex.Money, is quoted as saying:
“People living in the CIS countries use the same internet services as people living in Russia. They make connections in social networks, chat, play games, read books and listen to music. Now, just like web users in Russia, web users in the CIS can pay for any of these and many other online services using Yandex.Money.”
And, of course, the more frictionless online payments are, the better opportunities for startups to get paid, right?