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I intend to use Norwegian VISA cards (both debit and credit) in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia.

Due to my bank's fee structure, it is generally preferable for me to use these cards directly in shops, restaurants, hotels etc. (when possible) rather than to withdraw from ATM's.

However, someone told me that many shops (or the banks which provide their card machines) may charge extra fees or commissions to customers when they pay by card.

Obviously, I am only asking about local fees imposed by individual establishments in Russia. I am well aware of what fees my Norwegian bank imposes, and I am not asking about those.

  1. How common is it to be charged such local fees when paying in shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. in these cities?
  2. If such fees are charged, how can one be informed about which establishments charge them, how much they are, etc?
    Can you typically see it on the screen of the payment machine while paying, for example?
  • Sometimes, 2-3%. The majority simply set a limit on a minimum payment, which is usually equivalent of €5-10 or so. – ThisIsMyName Jul 10 '17 at 12:36
  • @OleksandrKravchuk I see. Do the businesses typically inform about these fees during payment, or are they just charged silently? – Revetahw Jul 10 '17 at 12:39
  • they do, but mind the language problem. – ThisIsMyName Jul 10 '17 at 13:11
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I'm from Saint-Petersburg, and I was in Moscow for a long time, and can say that the cases when one's charged for using the credit/debit card is very rare in places like shops/cafes/museums, where you're using payment machine. I've used both Russian ussued card and foreign issued cards.

According the Russian law, the business must notify it's clients about all the fees, so you should just ask about additional fees and other charges before paying for something.

However, things are changing when we're talking about businesses proving some service, like delivery, translation, etc. they may charge you for some forms of payment, including the card. This is a common thing for those who uses some kind of software to transfer the money, online retailers, for example.

Banks wil definitely charge you to get money from your card with cashier, but **some of ATM may not charge you additionally (eg, Citibank usually don't charge other's bank cards). ATM will notify you it there will be additional charge before the transaction.

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You can find extra fees of 2-3% at some shady online retailers. Don't think you'll be interested in internet shopping I assume.

In Russia, nobody will ever pay with card if it would incur a fee. Russians are extremely sensitive to charges on their money. One will rather get their funds from one ATM then go dump them into another ATM than use wire transfer with even 0.5% fee.

Indeed, many banks offer cashback on their cards, when you get around 1% of your card transaction back. Obviously it will be dubious if venues charged extra for card transactions.

In short: it's exceedingly rare that there will be extra charges when paying with card. Even minimum payments are uncommon. It's a pretty common thing to use a card to pay sub-Euro sum.

Still I would advise you to carry some cash around. The number of businesses that don't accept cards is small but it's sometimes the most interesting/weird places.

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