One of the slickest aspects of Russian life these days are certain machines in public places that look sort of like bank machines, but their main purpose is rather the opposite: instead of disbursing money to the person who walks up, they take money from the customer which is then applied to bills. You can pay for your cell phone at these places. You can pay for your internet services. You can pay for water and electricity. You can sometimes even deposit money into your bank accounts through them. It's pretty simple. You walk up. Choose the service you want to pay. Enter your account number. Stick in some cash. Take your receipt. Voilà, you're done!
Officially such a machine is called a платёжный терминал "a payment terminal." You can find them in the subway. You can find them in the underground pedestrian paths under big streets. Heck, you can even find one at the 24-hour fast-food place not a block from where I'm staying. Despite the official name, sometimes people simply call them автомат "automated machine" or sometimes even more sloppily банкомат "bank machine." In either case, they are incredibly convenient. Payment via internet is still not quite as common in Russia as in the US, and it seems like everybody pays for their cell phones mainly at these terminals. Lots of services in Russian, like many cell phone plans, aren't fixed monthly sums. They are pre-paid services, and as your pre-paid account gets low, you need to go to one of these machines to add money to your account, otherwise they'll shut your service down so fast your head will spin. And mind you, young Russians these days send text messages like they were going out of style. I don't think a Russian under 30 can even develop a relationship without text-messaging, so you can imagine that these machines are a vital part of their daily lives:
|Блин! Деньги кончились на счету. Мобильник перестал работать. Надо бы сейчас же пополнить счёт через терминал.||Fudge! My account's out of money. My cell phone stopped working. I need to add money to my account right away at a payment terminal.|
|Я только что пополнила счет. В терминале сказали ожидать обработки денег в течении дня. Ждать целый день? По-моему, это не так уж удобно.||I just added money to my account. The terminal said to expect the money to be processed within a day. Wait a whole day? I don't think that's all that convenient.|
|Борис подошёл к терминалу и пополнил счёт интернета.||Boris walked up to a terminal and added money to his internet account.|
|Не примирюсь с этими проклятыми терминалами. Я уверен, что когда-нибудь один из них достигнет самосознания, превратится в терминатора, и сделает нас всех рабами.||I will not reconcile myself to those damned terminals. I'm sure that someday one of them will achieve self-awareness, turn into a terminator and make slaves of us all.|
The word for bank machine or ATM in Russian is банкомат. Back in the 80s there were essentially no banks in Russia in the sense of an ordinary bank in the US. Nowadays they are everywhere. And one of the chief ways to interact with a bank is through a bank machine:
|Я взяла две тысячи рублей в банкомате.||I got two thousand rubles from the ATM.|
|Мне нужны были деньги, но банкомат не работал.||I needed money, but the ATM wasn't working.|
|Не подскажете, где ближайший банкомат?||Could you tell me where the nearest bank machine is?|
|Я подошёл к банкомату, но в нём не было денег.||I went to the bank machine, but it was out of money.|
Just as in the States, to get money from an ATM you need a bank card банковская карта. Usually people will call it simply a карта, and sometimes they will call it кредитная карта. (Usually a bank card in Russia participates as well in the Visa or Mastercard system.) You also need a PIN number, which the Russians usually simply call a код, although it is also called ПИН-код (usually the first part is spelled with English letters, thus PIN-код) or личный код "personal code."
|Я всунул карту в банкомат, но он сразу же вернул её.||I put my card in the bank machine, but it immediately gave it back.|
|Я набрал свой код и проверил баланс.||I entered my PIN number and double-checked my balance.|
Just as in the States, a bank machine usually belongs to a particular bank. If you use ATMs owned by that bank, there are usually no withdraw fees. If you use one out of their system, there are:
|Я держу счёт в Сберанке России, и поэтому я пользуюсь только его банкоматами.||Sberbank Rossii holds my account, so I use only their bank machines.|
|Когда я пользуюсь банкоматами других банков, они берут проценты.||When I use ATMs that belong to other banks, they charge extra.|
That last example is interesting. «Берут проценты» really means "they charge a percentage." We Americans would expect that they charge a commission «берут комиссию», and that the commission would be a fixed fee. The commission in Russia is often not a fixed fee, but rather a percentage of the withdrawal, sometimes with a minimum amount of, say, $5. In this case phrase "they charge extra" is not a precise or technical translation of «они берут проценты». Instead it is a substitution of the most common English phrase used in that context for the most common Russian phrase used in the similar context.