Russian banks step up online services

MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russian banks have increasingly provided services online. However, no more than 5% of depositors use such services regularly, the Biznes daily said.

Russia has come close to the West in terms of advanced banking technology. However, online banking does not interest Russian clients who stick to the superstitions that the Internet is not a proper medium for financial transactions. "A lot of people believe coming to a bank and having all papers written is much safer," said Maria Gladkikh, the head of the systems and alternative channels development department at Probiznesbank bank.

Research shows 16% of banks in Russia had online services systems in 2004, while another 13.5% of banks intended to launch them shortly.

Aleksei Kozyrev, in charge of the electronic distribution channels at Alfa Bank, said an average of 5%-10% of all the private clients of the banks offering online services had used them.

According to Gladkikh, "in Moscow, no more than 30% of bank clients are connected to distance banking systems."

Today, Russian banks use the Internet, as well as telephone, WAP, SMS, and other communication media in dealing with their customers. Many of them have updated customers on their plastic card transactions via SMS for security reasons for quite a long time already.

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