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How to make an online payment in Russia?
Old 01-27-2019, 01:41 PM   #1
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How to make an online payment in Russia?

A friend is doing genealogy on several of his relatives for which very little information is known, as they were orphans in the late 1800s in Russia. He has exhausted every avenue for information.

His remaining hope for finding info is in the Russian state archives which have recently been digitized and are available online. These archives charge a minimal amount for research access (very reasonable, something like $4/week). Despite the low fee, my friend was hesitant to enter his credit card info, for fear of his card becoming compromised.

I offered him use of a $100. PenFed Credit Union VISA gift card* to use for payment in lieu of a credit card. The gift card was declined, with a comment (in Russian) "their system had rejected the method of payment".

*BTW, I just took a closer look at the Pen Fed gift card. I noticed in small print "Valid only in the United States", so that may be the issue.

I'm wondering if anyone here might have a suggestion or two on how to make a payment to access the archives in Russia without incurring a huge expense to do so or exposing their credit to a potential security risk?

omni
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:04 PM   #2
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Did the website where the Russian state archives are mention a method of payment?

Can't blame your friend for feeling hesitant.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:13 PM   #3
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Some credit card issuers use “virtual numbers” which can be used for online purchases and can be discarded after a single use.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:28 PM   #4
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If I needed to do this, I would call the number on my Amex card. No matter how this is done, their will be an exchange rate that has to be paid. So I would look to a card that does not change an additional fee. Also I'd want to have custom alert in case the charge changed suddenly.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
Did the website where the Russian state archives are mention a method of payment?

Can't blame your friend for feeling hesitant.
Yes, it's set up for entering credit card info.

My friend said it does allow you to make an initial search, so you can see if there's any potential info on the name you are searching. He said 8 records were shown for the last name he entered. Then it asked for payment, before granting further access.

-----

Anecdote: Recently, I was speaking with a sales engineer (who services Russian accounts). His employer is a German company that sells automotive software worldwide. He was telling me that the guys at the Russian companies (who have purchased this software) are always hacking the software, even though the German company would welcome their requests and would gladly make changes to the software as needed. The sales engineer said "hacking is sort of in their blood in Russia".

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Old 01-27-2019, 02:41 PM   #6
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How about just a Visa gift card? Buy one for $20 and that gives him 5 weeks of access. The worst that can happen is that he's out $20.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:49 PM   #7
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How about a loadable Visa card? Not sure if they are USA only or international though.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Some credit card issuers use “virtual numbers” which can be used for online purchases and can be discarded after a single use.
^^This

I don't use it, but my Capital One card has this option.

The other choice would be to get a new card, use it for this, and then cancel it.

There may be some gift cards and download cards that allow use outside the US, but when I was looking into it to give DS a gift when travelling abroad, everything I found was US only.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:59 PM   #9
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We went to St. Petersburg and took a two day tour of the city. We charged our tour and one lunch on our U.S. issued credit card without incident. Our tour guide furnished the cash we spent and added it to our tab. I would be very hesitant to use an ATM card for cash in Russia because we are not as protected legally on ATM cards and don't have the same chargeback regulations protecting us as credit cards.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:31 PM   #10
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Maybe a travel money card would work?

https://www.travelex.com/travelex-hu...currency-cards
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Old 02-25-2019, 02:14 PM   #11
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I had shared this thread with my friend.

Just to close the loop.

I spoke with my friend over the weekend. He ended-up calling VISA corporate as well as the credit union through which his VISA card is issued. They both assured him that he would not be on the hook for any fraudulent usage. The credit union suggested he further register his VISA card with a fraud alert to his cell phone, which he did.

He's been searching in the Russian archives for a few weeks using his VISA card for access. So far, all the charges to his card have been legitimate.

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Old 02-25-2019, 03:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Some credit card issuers use “virtual numbers” which can be used for online purchases and can be discarded after a single use.
+1

If he has a Capital One card, use the ENO system which generates a unique CC number that can't be used by others even if it is compromised.
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