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Russia's Central Bank official: Cash payments by individuals should be limited

November 15, 2013, 17:08 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Over 90% of retail transactions in Russia are carried out in cash, which is obviously excessive, first deputy president of the Bank of Russia Georgy Luntovsky believes

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Bank of Russia

Bank of Russia

© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Mashkov

MOSCOW, November 15, 16:08 /ITAR-TASS/. The need to limit cash payments by citizens is beyond doubt, the first deputy president of the Bank of Russia, Georgy Luntovsky told the daily Izvestia in an interview published Friday.

Over 90% of retail transactions in Russia are carried out in cash, which is obviously excessive, Luntovsky said. The CBR should have the right to have the initiative to impose a cap on cash payments by individuals, he believes.

“For instance, we might set an initial threshold of 600,000 rubles and then gradually decrease it, as infrastructures emerge and economic entities and the people get accustomed to considerable restrictions on cash payments and arrive at the understanding it’s time to make this step,” Luntovsky explained.

Russia featured high on the list of countries in Europe by the number of ATM per capita, he added, but it still lagged behind foreign countries by the rate of non-cash payments. Luntovsky attributed that to Russian people’s cautious attitude to new banking services, “whereas trust in cash payments is quite high.”

Technological improvements of cash circulation and processing and logistics should be accompanied by the development of infrastructures for non-cash payments, Luntovsky believes. Besides, increased non-cash circulation would foster the transparency of financial flows in the banking system, which would reduce the share of the shadow economy and better tax collection. The money now expended on servicing cash circulation might be invested in the real economy, Luntovsky said.

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