Another life – how a migrant can buy a smartphone in installments


Russia is a point of attraction for many residents of the near abroad who find work here. Someone works more or less permanently and eventually receives citizenship, someone comes for seasonal work. Labor migrants are associated with a low-paid workforce, a sort of collective stereotype. Perhaps it arose from the fact that we see such workers at construction sites, cleaning yards or roads. It is hard to argue that migrants occupy a huge niche of low-skilled labor, those jobs that the inhabitants of Russia ignore. A similar alignment can be observed in many countries of the world, where the economy is stronger than that of neighboring states. A stream of labor migrants, who initially occupy the lowest positions, is drawn to a wealthy neighbor. Someone stays on them, someone returns to their homeland, and someone makes a career.

Typically, labor migrants transfer money to their home countries, Tajikistan is the leader in terms of receipts, followed by Uzbekistan and then Kyrgyzstan. To estimate the amount of what labor migrants earn in Russia, let’s take a look at the statistics of the Central Bank of Russia. In the first quarter of 2021, $1.37 billion was transferred to the CIS countries, $1.8 billion in the second quarter, and $2.28 billion in the third quarter. The amounts are noticeable, and it is impossible to call them insignificant. But at the same time, labor migrants live in Russia, invest money in the economy, at least spend it on food, clothing, and transport. And they cannot do without communication, and they also need phones. In 2021, almost 2 million patents for labor migrants were issued in Russia.

For telecom operators, labor migrants quickly became a gold mine, they constantly bought SIM-cards, the seasonal nature of the work gave an additional impetus to sales. Self-isolation during the pandemic gave an outflow of migrant workers, the labor market is only recovering.

But how do such people buy phones or smartphones? Operator statistics show that in recent years, even among this group of people, the number of those who use push-button phones has been falling, and the penetration of smartphones is growing. From this we can conclude that their well-being is growing, there is a need for more advanced devices, they get to know them. Something similar happened to us, the gradual abandonment of the “button” in favor of more advanced devices. And at that moment a huge variety of offers appeared on the market – loans, installments, a smartphone by subscription or even for rent. None of these offers are available to labor migrants, as they have a passport of another country and banks do not consider them as reliable borrowers. It turns out that a huge segment of the market is closed and no one works with migrant workers in this area – either they pay the full amount for the device, or continue to save up for it. For sellers of equipment, this has always been a tidbit, but problems with fraud blocked potential profits.

In mid-December, I came across a press release from Beeline, in which they described in sophisticated language that the operator offers loans for equipment complete with a subscription to communication services, the action is called “Year without worries”.

It turns out that there are similar promotions with the same partner in MegaFon and MTS, the mechanics are the same and built according to the same pattern. Everywhere, the partner is MCC Strana Express LLC, a microcredit organization that offers loans to residents of neighboring countries, for example, residents of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Armenia are invited to participate in the action. Age – from 18 to 75 years inclusive.

In order to participate in the promotion, you need to provide your passport (one of the listed countries), migration card (RPV or residence permit), as well as registration at the place of stay.

In the stores of operators, it is proposed to get a loan in the amount of 5 to 100 thousand rubles (these are the conditions in Beeline, other operators – 70 thousand rubles), which allows us to say that you can buy almost any product, including flagships. If you choose a product for one hundred and thirty thousand rubles, then you will need to pay the difference, in our example, 30 thousand rubles.

In Beeline, a pilot was launched in Moscow and St. Petersburg, you need to select a SIM card with a certain tariff plan (you can connect it). As a bonus, the operator provides 12 months of communication, look at the sign how it looks.

Now the most important thing! You can repay the received loan from your mobile phone account, for this you need to activate the “Mobile payment” option, as well as issue a KoronaCard card. The repayment will be debited from your account.

Now let’s see what the interest rate looks like, since it is labeled as zero, but in fact it is not. You have a period when you do not need to pay interest, but then the interest rate rises sharply (this is a microcredit organization).

I suggest reading an excerpt from the organization’s website:

1) from 5,000 to 30,000 rubles, the interest rate from the day following the day the loan is issued, for the next 6 months is 0%, from the 7th month the interest rate is 248.00% per annum, for a period of 10 calendar months;

2) from 5,000 to 30,000 rubles, the interest rate from the day following the day of issuance of the loan for the next 3 months is 0%, from the 4th month the interest rate is 65.00% per annum, for a period of 355 calendar days;

3) from 30,000 to 100,000 rubles, the interest rate is 37.88% per annum, for a period of 6 calendar months; 4) from 30,000 to 100,000 rubles, the interest rate from the day following the day the loan is issued, for the next 3 months is 0%, from the 4th month the interest rate is 68.00% per annum, for a period of 355 calendar days.

The first and second points depend on what product you are purchasing, whether it participates in some promotions in retail or not.

There is, of course, no comparison with what a resident of Russia receives in installment or loan offers. But this is perhaps the only way for a resident of the near abroad to buy electronics using a loan. If you close the loan before the expiration date with a zero interest rate, then you will save money and at the same time get a free connection.

It is clear that the niche of such loans is rather narrow, but the fact that companies with microloans are already coming there shows that there is interest in lending to migrant workers. The story is rather closed in terms of information, as is the topic of migrants in general, which does not arouse much interest among the general public. In my opinion, this story shows how diverse and competitive the market for financial services, sales of goods on credit has become. Will the big players come here? This, it seems to me, is a matter of time.

The story about the new service clearly shows how different the life of a labor migrant is, who is forced to pay more for the same services than a resident of Russia. And this is a fact, since the risks with this approach for the company issuing the loan are higher.

Source: — Все о мобильной технике и технологиях by

*The article has been translated based on the content of — Все о мобильной технике и технологиях by If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!

*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.

*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!