I’d heard horror stories about Russian ATMs. How they didn’t accept foreign cards. How cards went in but never came out. How money was credited as having been taken out of your account when none was dispensed.
I’m pleased to announce that if those stories were ever true – and I’d be most happy to hear from anyone who has had this kind of experience in Russia – they certainly aren’t today.
Not so far, anyway.
If anything, I’ve found Russian ATMs to be rather too useful.
It Does Everything But Vibrate
This one by Masterbank – which is known as a Mini Office – allows you to pay your Internet, telephone and other utility bills, to recharge your phone, to change money (there’s a helpful exchange rate at the top of the screen), make deposits and naturally, to purchase air tickets.
So Much Going On, You Might Forget What You Originally Came To Do
It’s multilingual (well, English and Russian, anyway), very quick and makes a number of very excited beeping noises when you push its buttons. When your money is counted out, its arrival is heralded by an electronic jingle that’s vaguely reminiscent of early house music.
If You Get Confused, Just Follow Olga
Add in the instructional cartoon playing on the screen in the top right corner and the plethora of symbols stamped all over it and you’ve got a machine that looks more like an arcade game than an ATM.
Whatever you do, just don’t let the flashing lights and nice noises hypnotise you into forgetting to ask for your card back when you’ve finished playing.