An analysis by Sberbank has found that the number of digital payments in Russia has outstripped cash transactions for the first time.

In the last quarter of 2019, Russian citizens made 50.4% of total transactions using cashless instruments. The figure is a 4.5 percentage point increase compared to 2018 Q4 data.

The state-owned lender identified the jump by processing data under its SberData project.

SberData estimates that the number of cashless payments will continue to outrank cash transactions this year.

The bank also noted that digital transactions breached 50% mark in 36 regions in the 2019 Q4. The Murmansk Region topped the list with 60% of cashless transactions.

Also, Chukotka Autonomous District achieved the highest growth in cashless payments with a 7.7 percentage point rise, compared to 4Q18.

Sberbank expects that digital transactions are set to become the preferred payment method across majority of Russian regions next year.

Digital payments are also likely to dominate transactions in larger cities rather than in the regions.

However, Moscow (53.7%) and Saint Petersburg (54.6%) were not among the top and secured 30th and 19th places, respectively, in the ranking of cashless cities.

“More than 60% of purchases are paid for digitally in Syktyvkar, Petrozavodsk, Apatity, Ukhta and Severodvinsk,” Sberbank added.