The Russia credit card industry began to soar in the early 2000s. As consumers tasted the power of plastic money, the economy saw a considerable shift. According to the US Department of Commerce, there were 8 credit card companies in Russia in 2005, with market penetration of 0.02 per capita. This was almost a 1000% surge from the 1998 data.
After 2004, foreign credit card issuers start investing in Russian banks to grab a larger share of the pie. France's BNP Paribas bought 50% stake in Russian Standard Bank and GE Consumer Finance acquired Delta Bank. Both the Russian banks were pioneers in offering credit card products in the nation. Their policy to approve credit card applications instantly revolutionized the scene. This led to a reduced share of the state-owned savings bank, Sberbank, in the credit card industry.
Over the years, several Russian banks have begun to offer credit cards. In the post-2008 recession period, aggressive credit card marketing was subdued. The government, in collaboration with the central bank, has developed pro-active credit card policies for a smoother ride.
Major credit card issuers in Russia are:
CB Industrial Credit Bank
CB Alta-Bank CJSC
International Industrial Bank
JS Bank Rosevrobank
New Symbol Bank