How to open a Tinkoff account in 2023

How to open a Tinkoff account in 2023

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Travelling with a bank card is normal in 2023. Not only it saves time when booking transport and accomodation online but it also makes things so much easier if one doesn’t speak the local language properly.

I often buy my bus and train tickets online because I absolutely hate queuing in Russia (I’m a Westerner, my personal space is sacred).

As someone who travel for long periods of time around Russia, it was important for me to get a local MIR debit card. Tinkoff appeared to be the most accessible and easiest one to get.

In this post I will explain you how to get a Tinkoff MIR debit card, share my personal experience with the Tinkoff bank and using the card in Russia.

Last updated : 01/09/2023

The ultimate guide to get a Tinkoff mir bank card
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What is MIR payment system ?

MIR is a Russian made payment system established between 2015 and 2017 by the state Central Bank following a bunch of western sanctions. It became the main card payment system in Russia in 2022 when Visa and Mastercard suspended their operations in the country.

Tinkoff, the debit card for foreigners

You may wonder “but what is Tinkoff?” Long story short, Tinkoff is a neobank founded by Oleg Tinkov in the mid 2000’s. The bank doesn’t have any physical branches, only a few offices in Moscow and operates exclusively online.

It is extremely popular across Russia. Litterally everybody I know has a Tinkoff card.

Oleg Tinkov sold the last parts of his company earlier this year after publicly criticizing the SMO in Ukraine.

“Tinkoff black : debit card for foreigners” is the bank’s slogan. Can’t be more clear than that, right ?

Tinkoff offers a simple debit card with the MIR payment system and an online access of the bank account through the App.

How to open a Tinkoff account ?

Tinkoff debit card with euros and dollars cash

Tinkoff is a neobank so you can open a bank account directly online, it takes only a few minutes to apply and a couple of days to receive the card wherever you are in Russia. The card is easily topped up at one of the many Tinkoff ATMs with immediate deposit on the account.

Learn how to open a Tinkoff account in a few steps !

  1. Fill up the first phase of application form

    Tinkoff online application form to open a Russian bank account and get a debit card

    Go to the application form (in english) on the Tinkoff website.

    #1 Choose cashback categories that suit you best
    – Taxi is the Yandex Taxi App
    – Ozon is a russian e-commerce platform like Amazon
    – Pyaterochka is a popular supermarket chain

    #2 Enter your full name
    Write down your full names (first names if more than one and last name) like shown on your passport. Accents on letters aren’t accepted.
    E.g. my name is Noémie (french), I wrote down Noemie without the accent.

    #3 Enter your email address

    #4 Enter your phone number
    Write down your phone number even. You will be able to change it later.

    #5 Enter your date of birth
    Write down your date of birth in the D/M/Y format

    #6 Enter your nationality
    Select “Not a Russian national

    #7 Select RUB and the MIR payment system
    Note : Tinkoff stopped operations in euros since April. Maybe they did at the time of write or will do as well for US dollars.

    #8 Click Apply

  2. Confirm your phone number

    Tinkoff online application form to open a Russian bank account and get a debit card

    Enter the confirmation code you receive by text. That’s why it’s important to have a valid phone number next to you.

  3. Wait for the bank to contact you

    Tinkoff online application form to open a Russian bank account and get a debit card

    The bank should contact you within two working days to set up an appointment with one of their staff and deliver you the MIR card.

  4. Download the Tinkoff App

    A woman's hand hold a smartphone with the Tinkoff bank App open

    Meanwhile, download the Tinkoff App. It has an english interface.

  5. Meet with a Tinkoff representative

    A woman's hand holding a Tinkoff enveloppe with bank cards

    One of the bank’s representative will come and meet you in the next couple of days weither you stay in an flat, hotel or hostel. You will need your passport, visa (if applies) and immigration card. The person will take a picture of everything, make you sign a few documents and give you an enveloppe where you will find your Tinkoff Black debit card, a card holder and your contract.

  6. Go to the nearest Tinkoff ATM to top up your balance

    A Tinkoff atm in a Russian supermarket entrance

    To top up with balance, find the nearest Tinkoff ATM (they can all be found on the map in the Tinkoff App) and top up with however much roubles you want. It will be immediately deposit on your account and your card ready to use.

How to top up a Tinkoff card with cash ?

Now that you have the card, it’s time to top it up with actual money. There’s nothing easier, admitting that you have russian roubles in cash.

Find the location of one of the many ATMs through the App, top up your debit card with however much money you want and it will immediately appear on your account.

Note : None of the ATMs I’ve tried last summer 2022 had an english language option. Hopefully an english interface will son be available like on the App.

If you don’t really speak russian but can read (a must if you ask me), it is fairly easy anyway. See the pictures bellow.

  • Tap your card on the contacless area of the ATM, then enter your pin
  • It gets you to a screen (second image) where you have to select “пополнить – popolnit” (the top right option – “popolnit” means “to top up”)
  • Put your cash in the box that opens (no enveloppe nor receipt needed). It closes, counts and done. The money is on your account.

Special mention about Crimea : There are no Tinkoff ATMs in Crimea but you can use any local bank ATM to top up your card. I used RNKB bank (РНКБ Банк) to top up mine, it worked just the same without any extra fees.

Tinkoff atm to top up card

My personal experience with Tinkoff

In the summer 2022, I spent 3 months in Russia. I really wanted a bank card to book my accomodations and especially my bus and train tickets online (queuing in Russia with zero personal space is my worst nightmare).

To be honest, I would not have gotten a card if I was only staying a week or so in the same city, but in my case I travelled all around the Krasnodar Krai and Crimea for 3 months and a MIR bank card was very helpul.

I ordered my Tinkoff card the day I arrived, a sunday evening exactly. I received it the following tuesday, so two days later. A young woman named Alexandra came directly to my hostel in Sochi, we did the paperwork right in her car. She spoke very decent english to answer my few specific questions and show me around the App.

The whole process took 10 minutes and I got my brand new Tinkoff card with the MIR payment system ready to make my travels in Russia simpler.

A french european passport and a Tinkoff card

Frequently Asked Questions

Can foreigners open bank accounts in Russia ?

Yes. Check out this article to learn how to open a Tinkoff account.

Can I withdraw money in Russia ?

With a Visa or Mastercard issued outside of Russia, no you can’t. With a russian MIR card, yes. You can withdraw money all across the Russian Federation and a dozen of other countries.

How much cash can I bring to Russia ?

A maximum of 10 000 US$ or € is allowed to be taken into Russia without customs declaration. Bigger amounts must be declared on arrival & departure of the country.

Where can a MIR card be used?

In Russia : pretty much anywhere, in shops, metro, buses … You should see the contactless sign along with the MIR sign on the machines inside the transports or metro entry doors.

Online : Every russian websites such as accomodation booking platforms (Yandex travel or Ostrovok when a prepayment is required) , the russian national railways company RZD, airplane booking platforms including the airlines’ websites etc.

Abroad : The MIR payment system can be used in +10 countries. Many started accepting these russian made cards to boost their tourism such as Turkey, Armenia or Egypt. According to some News sources, a few of these countries have suspended the use of MIR quickly, following Western pressures.

The ultimate guide to get a Tinkoff bank card
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If you have any extra questions, I would hightly suggest to ask directly to Tinkoff but first check their official page, you might find all of the answers.

Let me know in the comments if this How to open a Tinkoff account guide has been helpful to you and feel free to add anything else and share your own experience

Enjoy what you read and learn? Think about buying me a chai to support the blog !

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Comments (13)

  • Johny 13/03/2023 at 00:10 Reply

    Hello,

    Nice blog and article!!

    I tried to follow it but I could not find the English version of the form as you had in your example. Where did you find it? It may be because Tinkoff has been added to last EU sanctions list late February and they removed it or I’m just bad at finding the info. Based on their Twitter the App has been removed from the App Store or Google Play since the last sanctions.

    Thanks again!

    • Noémie 13/03/2023 at 09:31 Reply

      Hello Johny, here is the link to the english page/form (apologies, it was not highlighted in the post).
      I have the app on my phone and it works just fine (here’s the link to the android app).

      I don’t know where you’re based in, but in France right now I don’t need any VPN to open either the bank’s website nor the app on my phone.

      Have a good day and thanks for your commment !

      • Johny 13/03/2023 at 15:45 Reply

        Hello,

        Hello Noémie 🙂

        Oh ok then it seams that I was just looking at the wrong place. Thanks for the link and the quick answer!! Ok the app is not available only on the App Store of Apple. I’ll try to find an android phone :))

        I’ll be there next summer so I’ll try your process when I’ll arrive in the country. I guess that the person that call you only speak Russian? As I’m speaking 0 words of Russian I’ll probably need to ask someone there to help me ^^. I guess that someone where I sleep will probably be able to help me :).

        Thanks again!!

        • Noémie 14/03/2023 at 08:01 Reply

          According to that page, the Tinkoff app is’t available anymore to download on the Apple store but still works for those who have it on their phones already (no updates though). Just get an Android phone, that’s easier, the app is great, you can even transfer money if you have the phone number of the person (I’ve paid a hostel once that way) etc. And yes they do have english speaking staff, at the end of the application form, before you valid everything they let you add a note, just write down you request an english speaking person to bring you the bank card. Mine spoke decent english and perfectly answered my questions.

          Enjoy your trip next summer !

  • Julio Carbone 30/03/2023 at 23:48 Reply

    How much cash can I bring to Russia ?
    A maximum of 10 000 US$ or € is allowed to be taken into Russia.

    Some clarification on this from – http://www.saint-petersburg.com/essentials/customs/

    Cash over $10,000
    You are entitled to import/export unlimited cash into Russia, but sums over $10,000 should be declared at customs. This applies to all foreign currencies and to rubles, with the exact quantities varying slightly from currency to currency. The most important reason for doing this (apart from your legal obligation) is to ensure that you will be able to take your money out of the country unimpeded. If you try to leave Russia with more than $10000 in cash and no stamped customs declaration, you are likely to run into difficulties unless you have official documentation proving that the money has legally been earned by you in Russia.

  • Jonathan 02/06/2023 at 22:09 Reply

    Bonjour Noémie, tout d’abord merci d’avoir fait ce tuto ouverture de compte Tinkoff, c’est très détaillé et les photos sont très utiles.

    J’aimerais savoir, à combien s’élèvent les frais de gestions de compte par mois ?
    Est-ce que Tinkoff propose des offres de carte moins élevé que BlackCard ?

    Merci d’avance

    • Noémie 03/06/2023 at 09:22 Reply

      Salut Jonathan, merci beaucoup pour ton retour !

      La gestion du compte est de 99₽ donc un peu plus d’1€ par mois, sauf si tu déposes 50 000₽/mois (+500€). Je crois bien que Tinkoff Black est l’offre la moins cher qu’ils proposent, après tu peux toujours leur envoyer un email (en anglais si tu ne parles pas russe) pour plus de renseignements, ils sont super réactifs en général.

      Bon week end !

  • Bilbo 17/07/2023 at 18:05 Reply

    Bonjour, merci pour les infos!

    La banquer t’a contacté par téléphone ou par email?

    Merci!

    • Noémie 18/07/2023 at 06:17 Reply

      Bonjour, la personne de Tinkoff que j’ai rencontré m’a contactée directement par téléphone.

  • Johny 03/08/2023 at 20:33 Reply

    Hello,

    Marci pour ce super article !

    J’ai vu ceci sur leur site :

    What documents do I need to apply for a debit card?
    Basically, you only need your full name, date of birth, phone number and passport information to apply for a card.
    But if you do not have Russian citizenship, you will be asked to show proof of your legal residence in Russia before you can receive your card. Depending on your nationality, you may be asked to show your migrant ID, work papers, residence permit or visa. If you are a Russian citizen, you only need your Russian passport.

    Tu as du leur donner un document qui prouve que tu es en russie légalement? J’ai l’impression que ils semblent dire qu’il te faut plus un permis d’établissement ou permis de travail.

    • Noémie 04/08/2023 at 06:15 Reply

      Bonjour Johny, le document qui prouve que tu es en Russie légalement c’est justement ton visa, peu importe si c’est un visa tourisme ou business etc, et la carte d’imigration tamponnée (comme quoi justement tu es bien entré légalement sur le territoire). La personne que j’ai rencontrée a pris une photo des deux et c’est tout.

      Merci pour ton commentaire, et bonne journée !

  • Johny 14/08/2023 at 09:39 Reply

    Hello,

    Ah ok incroyable! Leur site semblait plus parler d’un document de résidence.

    Merci et bonne journée!

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