Sending money to and from Russia has become a huge burden as of late. The people most affected are those sending remittances back to Russia to support their family members and relatives. Ex-pats living and working in Russia are also having a hard time getting funds from their home country to Russia. The question of “how to send money to Russia?” has now become, “can I send money to Russia?”
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In this post, we cover how to send money to Russia, what the options are for different situations and how to find the best exchange rates.
Skip to Sections in this post
- The Two BEST Ways to Send Money to Russia
- Sending Money to Russia Using Cryptocurrency
- Options for People Ineligible to Use Binance.com
- Where to Buy Cryptocurrency
- How to Send Money to Russia if you Cannot use Binance.com Yourself
- Who CAN officially send money from Russia (SWIFT)
- How to Send Money from Russia – P2P Trading
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- Get a 1-on-1 Session to Learn How to Get the Best Rates Every Time
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Severe Western sanctions were imposed on the Russian Federation just after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As a result, a myriad of payment systems from money transfer operators has all but dried up. Visa, MasterCard, Wise, Revolut, PayPal, Paysend, lots of others, and even international wire transfers from certain countries have all been discontinued. This, unfortunately, is just the beginning of issues with the transfer of funds to Russia.
As a response to sanctions, Russia has published a list of “unfriendly” countries and has restricted the types and amounts of foreign currency transactions people in Russia can make, both within Russia and abroad. The value of the ruble has fallen significantly, meaning those who have been keeping their savings in rubles have lost a staggering amount. And people with savings in foreign currencies such as euros, dollars, and pounds cannot realistically extract those funds because of the terrible exchange rate Russian banks are offering.
The Two BEST Ways to Send Money to Russia
With all this going on, many people have turned to two main alternative solutions that are now gaining ground – cryptocurrency and peer-to-peer currency trading. You can purchase cryptocurrency in one country with fiat currency like USD or EUR, send it to a digital wallet and then sell it for another fiat currency locally. To do this, you would need an account on a cryptocurrency exchange like Binance.com and a bank account in one or more locations.
The second option, P2P trading, doesn’t involve sending money at all. Let’s say you want to trade your US dollars or Euros for rubles. There must be someone out there who wants the opposite, that is, he or she has rubles and wants to trade them for US dollars or Euros. By connecting two parties and agreeing on a favorable exchange rate directly, banks and third parties are cut out of the deal. As a result, you enjoy a better exchange rate with the person you’re trading currencies with. There are certainly risks involved when doing this, but there are ways to safeguard yourself and minimize risks.
Our team at Let’s Russia has created a Peer-to-Peer Currency Exchange board for its members to use. You just need to sign up for a free account at Members.LetsRussia.com. You can browse offers, message the person making the request or post your own offer. This is just one option to find a person to exchange currency with. Other options include joining P2P exchange groups on social media. In any case, you need to be careful when engaging in trades. Trade with someone you can trust or others in the group can vouch for. Use instant transfer methods and send small amounts or break up large amounts into smaller amounts.
For those of you who need to send money to and from Russia urgently, one-time or the mentioned options don’t suit you, submit a request via Let’s Russia HERE. Our team can facilitate transfers at on your behalf.
For solutions for businesses in Russia sending money abroad or cross-border transfer funds from outside companies to Russian partners, we offer business solutions as well. If you’re a Russian freelancer or business and need a payment processing solution for clients outside of Russia or you could use a US-based virtual bank card, reach out to us at LetsRussia.com/contact.
Sending Money to Russia Using Cryptocurrency
The idea of venturing into the world of cryptocurrency may be daunting for newcomers. However, when we’re talking about using it to transfer money to Russia (or other countries), it’s not rocket science. It can be learned and repeated as needed. It does take some time though.
Got limited time? Skip the long read below and schedule a one-on-one session to get up to speed on everything you need to know to securely send money via cryptocurrency yourself at the best rates.
The first step is to create accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges. You will most likely have to create accounts across multiple exchanges because some do not operate in the countries you may need.
Let’s start with the ideal scenario. You have a bank account outside of Russia and a bank account in Russia, both preferably in your name. Check out the video walkthroughs in our membership library HERE. Sign up for a free account at members.letsrussia.com to view them.
STEP 1: Create an account and verify your identity at Binance.com.
This is not available in some countries like the USA, Singapore, China and a few others. See options for US citizens below.
STEP 2: Fund your Binance.com account.
Option 1: Purchase cryptocurrency with your USD or EUR balance from Binance directly.
To get zero fees, fund your account with USD or EUR. Go to Buy Crypto, then Deposit EUR via SEPA or USD via SWIFT. This will take one business day.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to use your EUR or USD balance to purchase cryptocurrency. Because our goal is to get money to Russia, we don’t necessarily want to deal with volatile cryptocurrencies. We will purchase what’s known as stable coins like USDT (TetherUS) or USDC (USD Coin) since it’s tethered to the US dollar which minimizes volatility. We don’t have to worry about USDT or USDC losing any value.
Option 2: Purchase cryptocurrency with your fiat currency from another person. Be sure you have payment methods added. You can do this at P2P User Center.
Another way to fund your account is to use P2P Trading instead. This is good because you may get just as good or sometimes even better rates than Binance itself. Go to Buy Crypto, then P2P Trading.
Select the green BUY button, select USDT, then indicate the fiat currency you’re willing to buy it with. Uncheck “Only show merchant ads” to see the whole list of offers and payment methods. The more payment methods you have available to pay a seller, the more likely you are to get the best rates.
Payment options for USD are Zelle, Transferwise, Revolut and many others.
Payment options for EUR are SEPA, Paysera, Transferwise, Revolut, N26 and many others.
Once you’ve found a rate and payment method that suits you, click BUY USDT. ALWAYS check the terms and conditions set by the seller in the window on the left. Then, if you’re comfortable with the terms, enter the amount you’d like to buy and then confirm your intent to purchase by clicking BUY USDT again.
The system freezes the seller’s USDT until you send the payment to the seller’s listed payment method and he or she marks the order as funds received. Once the seller receives the funds and confirms, Binance releases the USDT to your account.
Note: Binance.com freezes most P2P trades for 24 hours and only after that can you sell them again.
IMPORTANT! Typically, the name on the Binance account will need to match the name from where you are sending the payment. Most sellers don’t allow payments from third parties. That means you cannot use your spouse’s or another friend’s account unless the Binance account and name on the payment method are the same.
STEP 3: Sell your USDT to Buy Russian Rubles
Much like option 2 of buying USDT on the P2P trading platform, now you become the seller of your USDT. Go to Buy Crypto, then P2P Trading. Be sure you have payment methods added. You can do this at P2P User Center.
Select the red SELL button, select USDT, then indicate the fiat currency you want, which in this case would be RUB. Uncheck “Only show merchant ads” to see the whole list of offers and the payment methods. The more payment methods you have available to receive payment, the more likely you are to get the best rates.
Payment options for RUB are Sberbank, Tinkoff, Qiwi, Raiffeisen, Alfabank, Yandex Money and many others.
TIP: If you are sending rubles between different banks like Tinkoff and Sberbank, you can avoid commission (up to a limit) by using the person’s PHONE number linked to their account instead of the bank card number. This is thanks to the fast payment system (Система Быстрых Платежей).
Once you’ve found a rate and payment method that suits you, click SELL USDT. ALWAYS check the terms and conditions set by the seller in the window on the left. Then, if you’re comfortable with the terms, enter the amount you’d like to sell or get and then confirm your intent to sell by clicking SELL USDT again. The system freezes your USDT until the buyer sends the payment to your listed payment method. Once you receive the funds, you mark the order as funds received and confirm. Binance releases the USDT to the buyer’s account.
There, you’re done. You just used your funds abroad to buy rubles in Russia and dodged paying huge markups in bank and third-party commissions.
Options for People Ineligible to Use Binance.com
For US citizens, you can sign up for an account at Binance.us, but it doesn’t help you much unless you use another exchange.
The downsides to Binance.us are:
ONE: After funding your account via ACH, which is free, you can buy cryptocurrency, but cannot withdraw them (send them) to another wallet outside Binance.us for 10 days!
TWO: The deal breaker for most US citizens if you cannot sign up for Binance.com as well: There is no P2P Trading option on Binance.us. This means you’ll have to send your cryptocurrency to another exchange or someone who has an account on Binance.com to help you complete the last stage of actually buying rubles on Binance.com’s P2P Trading platform.
If this is all too overwhelming and/or you don’t have access to P2P Trading, we’ve got you covered. Sign up to get access to our P2P Trading account and get funds transferred directly to you at the best possible rates. We’ll do up to 4 trades per month at zero fees on your behalf right alongside you.
Where to Buy Cryptocurrency
- Binance.com (offers P2P trading)
- Binance.us US-based
- Gemini.com US-based
- Coinbase.com US-based but higher fees.
- Bybit.com (offers P2P trading)
- Kucoin.com (offers P2P trading)
- Kraken.com Crypto Exchange
- Exmo.com Crypto Exchange
How to Send Money to Russia if you Cannot use Binance.com Yourself
If you’re from the USA or other countries that don’t allow Binance.com, we recommend using a cryptocurrency exchange that allows you to purchase USDT. Then, transfer USDT to someone you trust who has a Binance.com account. They can then help you purchase Russian rubles to deposit into one of many Russian bank accounts instantly via transfer by card number or phone number.
We’ll use Binance.us as an example, but it could be another cryptocurrency exchange, whatever is available in your country. After funding your account and purchasing USDT, go to your Wallet.
STEP A. Prepare to send USDT to a family member, friend or other trusted person
Click on USDT and then Withdraw. Enter the amount you’d like to withdraw and the network you’d like to use to verify the transaction. Both Binance.us and Binance.com use BNB, BSC and ETH. You can see the fees associated with withdrawing your USDT before sending your cryptocurrency. I’ve found that BSC is cheaper to send cryptocurrency to another wallet when sending between Binance.us and Binance.com.
STEP B: Get your trusted person’s crypto wallet address
The person you will send cryptocurrency to will need to log into their Binance.com account. Click on Wallet Overview then DEPOSIT and choose Deposit Crypto. Select USDT TetherUS as the Coin. Then, select the SAME network as you did in step 1 in your Binance.us account. Copy the address exactly or QR code and send it to the sender.
IMPORTANT! The TYPE of cryptocurrency, the NETWORK and the ADDRESS MUST ALL MATCH or else you risk losing your funds.
STEP C: Preview your withdrawal request and triple check details
Once you’ve got the address, network and cryptocurrency set, you can click on preview withdrawal. Check the recipient details once more and after you’ve confirmed everything is correct, confirm the withdrawal. Within a few minutes, the trusted person will have the USDT in his or her account.
You are now ready to do the final trading into Rubles by following the above STEP 3: Sell your USDT to Buy Russian Rubles.
NOTE: Like mentioned above, Binance.us holds your funds for up to 10 days if you funded your account via ACH. It’s very inconvenient if you need Russian rubles fast. Check other exchanges to see how long they hold your funds. Coinbase.com holds funds for 7 days.
Who CAN officially send money from Russia (SWIFT)
Migrant workers and ex-pats in Russia want to avail international money transfers for their loved ones at home. Foreign workers’ remittances are at an all-time low. In Central Asian countries, the projected growth in remittance rates is expected to average around -25 percentage points.
If you have USD or EUR in a bank account in Russia, there are only a few methods of bank transfers abroad. If you have a bank account in a non-sanctioned bank and you’re not on the unfriendly list of countries (see below), then you can send up to $5,000 per month abroad.
Countries on the “unfriendly” list: Australia, UK, EU countries, Iceland, Canada, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Korea, San Marino, Singapore, the United States, Taiwan, Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland and Japan.
Also, a Russian citizen can transfer up to $5,000 abroad per month to a family member outside of Russia. A Russian citizen cannot send payments to his or her own accounts abroad.
EDIT: This amount has increased to $50,000 and Russians are permitted to send funds to his or her own bank account abroad. The issue is finding a Russian bank and foreign bank that allows it. See the list of non-sanctioned banks at the bottom of this article.
How to Send Money from Russia – P2P Trading
Binance.com used to allow funding your account with rubles via bank cards such as debit cards and credit cards, then purchasing USDT. However, they have recently stopped allowing this via bank card. You can fund your account with Advcash or Payeer, but the rates are quite high. There’s really no point in doing that only to get similar rates as the bank or even worse. If you have Russian rubles, consider using the option below or reach out to Let’s Russia.
The best option is to find someone on the peer-to-peer exchange. As mentioned above, Let’s Russia has created a peer-to-peer exchange board as part of its membership. It’s free to sign up for and use. If you cannot utilize the solutions laid out above or just don’t wish to go through the hassle of learning it all, submit a request on the P2P Exchange.
For individuals, Let’s Russia can facilitate payments to and from Russia for individuals at rates better than the bank. Make a request below.
For businesses, Let’s Russia offers a legal and compliant way to send money to and from Russia. If you are a freelancer or business operating in Russia and need a solution to collect payments from your customers or clients outside of Russia, contact Let’s Russia at LetsRussia.com/contact.
We surely hope this is helpful to you. If any questions arise, please reach out to Let’s Russia at LetsRussia.com/contact. Please consider supporting our efforts in making more detailed posts and videos by signing up for our membership. It includes access to more tools, discounts and in-country services.
For a one-time donation, please do that HERE. It really helps us serve our ex-pat community and those needing up-to-date services and information relevant to Russia.
- Video Walkthroughs – Sign up for free and watch in the Let’s Russia Membership library.
- Binance.com – is by far the biggest exchange platform and offers a lot of different options. Low fees.
- Binance.us – a US-based cryptocurrency exchange
- Wise (Transferwise) – Money transfer service
- Revolut – Money transfer service