Testing SBPay. Is the replacement for apple Pay and Google Pay ready?

SBPay is a mobile phone application that can be used to make QR code payments. In fact, it is a direct replacement for Apple Pay and Google Pay.

The main difference is that instead of bringing the phone closer to the terminal, you have to scan the QR code. But it is not the only one, the difference is also in the form of payment. MirPay, GooglePay, ApplePay and other similar applications make payments with Visa and Mastercard. They need the details of the bank card linked to the application to make the payment.

SBPay does not use bank card details. All payments are made from the app user’s bank account, and all those to whom the bank has issued a card or opened a deposit have it.

The payment system can be used in retail stores and also to pay for products online.

The SBPay process

It is necessary to install the corresponding application on your mobile phone from Google Play and App Store. The predominant number of negative reviews on the pages is bewildering. However, I believe that the situation will improve with time. The app is less than a year old (it came out last fall), and its functionality differs from Apple Pay and Google Pay, which might bother the user at first.

But launching the application is very comfortable. The system automatically asks you to sign in through the email linked to iCloud. You just have to press the “Confirm” button and start the session with Face ID. A couple of seconds and you’ll be in the app.

Next, you have to select a bank and enter your account number with it. Remember that the system does not work with cards; all payments are made from the user’s bank account. And there is a problem: the most popular -Sber, Alfa and Tinkoff- are not here. Only the little known ones, like FINAM and Gazenergobank.

Luckily I have a Sovcombank card, that’s where I linked the account. To see it, you have to open your own card in the app and view the details. If you don’t have one, you should get a card from one of the banks. Important: You can only link a debit account to SBPay, not a credit account.

How is it used?

To pay for an item, you have to scan a promo code with the SBPay app. They are gradually being introduced to the major chains. Three big brands already support them:

  • wild berries
  • The star

  • Red White

I have not found QR codes in other chains. Magnolia, Pyaterochka and Perekrestok, for example, do not have them. That is, you have to take your card with you, because you don’t know if you will be able to pay without contact. I wouldn’t call it a negative point. The service has been running for about three months, businesses and services have not had time to adapt to the new reality.

I have tested the app in Red & White. You go to the cash register, mark your order and say you pay with the QR code. You scan it, the cashier counts the transfer. Made.

This process seemed excessively long to me, unlike Apple Pay. There is no button to open this particular app on the mobile phone, you have to do three things at once instead of just one: open the app, select the payment and point the camera at the QR code.

It seems easier to take out a card and connect it to the terminal. There is only one comfort in relation to it: you do not have to carry the plastic everywhere and you do not worry about losing it, but the process takes many times longer.

The process is similar on websites. In the PC version, specify the payment method “by QR code” and click “Pay”. A code appears on the screen, you scan it and the payment is made.

What happens if I do not have the cards of these banks?

It is also possible to pay with a QR code in mobile banking applications. For example, in Sber, you have to go to the “Payments” section and select the “QR Code” key.
The mechanics are the same: point to the QR code and the system makes the payment. There is no difference.

However, on the websites, you will have to link your card. Most services have an option to save your details, after which you have to enter a four-digit confirmation code to pay. The process is also longer than with Apple Pay, but the extra action is just one: no need to open additional apps.


SBPay seems to me a promising development, but it is not ready yet. The service has a chance to become a full-fledged alternative to Apple Pay and Google Pay, but it needs the support of all banks and chain stores.

The government is working to get it up and running. The Central Bank has already said that on July 1 all credit institutions must guarantee that customers can use the service.

In terms of convenience, you can get used to anything, only here Apple Pay and Google Pay are not substitutes. It is too convenient to pay with a touch on your phone.

However, with the right infrastructure, I will move to QR codes instead of plastic. Cards get lost all the time and take up unnecessary space in my pocket. It is useful when its function can be performed by a mobile phone. I’m waiting for that to be a reality again.