The Russian economy, like many other economies in the world, is rapidly moving towards digitalization. Online services are becoming an integral part of everyday life, with many online and offline services, such as e-commerce, online education, streaming services, car rental etc. requiring customers to have a credit card to access. Unbanked people, that constitute a large share of the Russian population (c. 25%), are unable to get access to these services.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions have made this inequality even more obvious. With reduced physical contact people work, communicate, study, and entertain themselves online and via remote & e-commerce platforms. As a result, a significant number of people lost access to basic services. The lack of availability of bankcards is the main barrier for lower-income segments of the population to participate in these online activities. From the possibility to stream a movie to buying food online, the lack of a functioning bank card can severely affect the lifestyle of people and their participation in and enjoyment of the society they live in. A combination of the financial burdens of existing products with lack of access to technology has become the real Digital Divide.
The Zaim online platform has been conceived to ease the access and resolve the Digital Divide as well as the Zaim Express MasterCard being a key tool of inclusivity. The card was designed to meet microfinance clients’ needs: simple, transparent, no hidden costs or fees on transactions. We provide lending to all sectors of society including those that are heavily neglected, giving them awareness that they can have access to financial products that enable their quality of life to improve in the increasingly digital world.
Providing people with bankcards and easy access to financing allows them to have a lifestyle they deserve and use the services that would normally be impossible or extremely complicated to get.