You have several options when you wire money to Russia. As with most countries, you can wire money through a wire transfer company (Western Union has the largest network in Russia), a bank or an Internet based transfer company. Fees, time and regulations vary. Wire transfer companies are fast and expensive, banks are slow, the least expensive and most reliable, and Internet companies are convenient and moderately expensive.
Wire Transfer Companies
Find a branch of a wire transfer company that also has a branch at the recipient’s location.
Give the representative your full name, the amount you wish to send in cash and a security question that the recipient can answer. The representative will then send this to the branch in the recipient’s city or town under the recipient’s full name (as it appears on the recipient’s official identification).
Pay the service fee and the money should be available at the recipient’s location in 24 hours.
Confirm with your bank and the recipient’s bank that they provide an international money transfer service, and confirm what kind of data each bank requires for the transfer. ICICI Bank allows you to transfer money without having an account with the bank.
Ask the recipient to give you their bank account number, name that the account is registered in and the bank’s SWIFT number or the recipient’s account routing number.
Go to your local bank and request a transfer to this account for the amount you wish to send. Pay the service fee (if any, many bank transfers are free or considerably less than wire transfers). The money should appear in the recipient’s account in three to four business days. Promsvyazbank has a next-day service.
Internet Transfer Services
Find a reputable Internet transfer service. Some banks and wire transfer companies, including Bank of Moscow, have reliable online transfer services, though they usually charge the same commissions that their physical offices charge.
Establish an account by filing your personal information with the transfer service and usually linking a debit or credit card, or a bank account, to your transfer account. Some services also charge a set-up or membership fee.
Send money through the website by withdrawing an amount from the card or bank account you have linked to the website and entering the recipient’s name, address and often bank account information. Online transfer services usually either mail a check in rubles to the recipient or transfer directly to the recipient’s bank account.
- Russia Guide: Money Transfer
- Moving Your Money in Russia
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Can I Cancel a Money Transfer?" Accessed April 24, 2020.
- American Bankers Association (ABA). "ABA Routing Number." Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Wells Fargo. "The Ins and Outs of Wire Transfers." Accessed April 24, 2020.
- American Express. "7 Answers About Wire Transfers Every CFO Should Know." Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "International Business E-Mail Compromise Takedown." Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Indiana University Office of Treasurer. "Banking." Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Western Union. "Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Santander Bank. "What Is a Cashier's Check?" Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Helpful Tips for Using Mobile Payment Services and Avoiding Risky Mistakes." Accessed April 24, 2020.
Calla Hummel is a doctoral student studying contraband in international political economy. She supplements her student stipend by writing about personal finance and working as a consultant, as well as hoping that her investments will pan out.