Sberbank: Expanding Client Base with Messaging

01 Challenge

Bridging Customer Experience Limitations When Issuing New Bank Cards

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02 Solution

Secure and Cost-Effective PIN Distribution

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03 Result

Expanding Card Distribution Network

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Client profile

Sberbank has the largest distribution network in Russia with ~14,200 branches, and its international operations include UK, US, CIS, Central and Eastern Europe and other countries. As of HY 2018, Sberbank of Russia’s net profit reached RUB427.4 bn (EUR 6.0 bn). Sberbank has almost 151 million clients worldwide served by 299 thousand employees in over 20 countries. Sberbank is constantly developing new, innovative and creative solutions in the field of digitization, to answer the needs of their clients.


Based on an existing partnership with NIS Petrol, a gas retailer present throughout Serbia, Sberbank was looking for a way to increase the number of issued cards. The idea was to develop a new banking card which would act as a 2-in-1 Sberbank credit and NIS Petrol loyalty card. This card would allow cardholders to pay a monthly fee for their gas and other products and services, like a credit card, as well as collection points for the loyalty program. To successfully execute this plan, Sberbank needed a reliable partner that would help them improve their present-day card activation process, minimizing the delay in PIN number delivery to new cardholders. Sberbank’s main goal was to increase sales and improve user experience by providing a simple, fast and secure onboarding and activation of payment functions process


Due to Sberbank’s satisfaction with Infobip’s SMS service in the past, it was decided that SMS messaging as a channel for card PIN delivery would guarantee satisfaction. Due to the highly secure PCI DSS compliance flow, which enforced rules such that PIN numbers could not be read or intercepted, implementing a PIN delivery solution could present challenges.

Luckily, Infobip has held its PCI DSS certificate since 2014 and was able to provide Sberbank with a platform to securely distribute card PINs over SMS to its new customers via the Sberbank/NIS Petrol transactional loyalty card. All messages sent through Infobip’s platform are delivered to the end-client, through a PCI DSS Level 1 compliant communication channel. Now, customers at NIS Petrol gas stations can fill out a ˝Card Contract˝ to register for the Sberbank/NIS Petrol card. Once the card arrives at the gas station, the customer is informed by SMS. From there, the customer sends an SMS to Sberbank with predefined keywords and the last four digits of the card. In response to this, Sberbank sends the customer their PIN via SMS which activates their card for usage.


The new card implementation and improved platform capabilities for secure SMS messaging helped Sberbank expand its distribution network for its cards. From January to December 2018, over 18,000 new cards were activated. In the future, they plan to implement Infobip’s PIN delivery process to their other cobranded programs and their standard card delivery process.

They are very easy to work with, extremely responsive and cooperative, and always there for us to overcome any obstacle. One of our greatest concerns was security and speed of delivery and that showed to be no problem at all with their solution.

Nataša Zorić Head for Partnerships and Cards, Partnership and Cards Department, Sberbank