27 June 2010

Low Credit Card Density = Many Service Points

Americans use their credit cards fast and furiously.  Credit cards in the US are by far the most prevalent form of payment.  They are used for groceries, school tuition payments, traffic violation settlements, utility bill payments, ongoing subscriptions, and each morning's cup of Joe.

Credit card usage is becoming more common in Russia, but their usage is far less common in this country.  Nevertheless, Russians consume similar services as Americans (cell phone, cable TV, etc.) and, perhaps more frequently than Americans (for various reasons - to be discussed later), are stopped for traffic violations.  Given the relative low density of credit card usage in this country, local entrepreneurs have created a nice alternative:  Payment kiosks.
Payment kiosks are ubiquitous, and they accept cash.  I have seen them in the lobby of my office building, in convenient stores, large grocery stores, and even in posh restaurants.  They can be used to pay for most commonly consumed services - and soon for settling traffic violation scores.  Their basic function, aside from facilitating financial transactions, is to provide people with convenience while saving their time.

At some point in the future, these kiosks will become "e-waste" as they will be replaced by smart phones or personal computers connected to high speed networks in the hands of people who carry multiple credit cards in their wallets.  Until then, they are a huge productivity booster for Russians.

1 comment:

  1. one MAJOR point - those are anonymous! You pay cash and leave no digital trail behind. Maybe they will live a little longer...