How this fintech company got Russia’s first banking license in 4 years


The Russian Federation doesn’t exactly scream friendliness when it comes to financial innovation, but appears to be making an exception for a company called Bank 131. At a time when Russia is taking away banking licenses, this fintech business is the first to receive a license in four years.

One of the primary thrusts of Bank 131 is that it will easily handle international payments to its Russian users. It’s historically a complicated and bureaucratic process to receive international income in Russia. The country is extremely modern in its deployment of domestic payment technologies, but this convenience doesn’t carry over to international transactions.

It’s a pity — Russia is a top five country for Apple Pay use and the first country to implement real-time money transfer between banks without help from Visa or Mastercard. Banking customers in Russia only need to know a phone number or account number if they want to send someone money. For having awesome financial tools for moving domestic money around, the international tools just aren’t there.

Bank 131 co-founder Dmitry Eremeev shared a story from his younger life that expressed the frustration felt by any Russian receiving money from abroad: “I ran a simple blog with