Everthyng you need to know about money exchange options in Russia
At the moment in Russia, many small and big businesses accept cards. Many local people in Moscow don't even have cash on their hands! With a Mastercard or Visa (either debit or credit card), you can make purchases with a good exchange rate and only pay a fee for currency exchange that is usually around 3%. But to be prepared for any unexpected situation we recommend you to keep a small amount of cash with you (~2000 rubles), just in case. If you go to other host cities consider increasing your daily cash budget to 4000-5000 rubles. Where to get cash in Russia?
Using money exchange
We don't recommend exchanging money at the airport or hotel as the rates are unlikely to be the best in town. And you don't need Russian currency on your way from the airport to the city. Usually, tourists prefer Aero Express train, where you can pay for your trip by Visa or MasterCard.
Money changers prefer good quality bills, but near new is not required. Changing money at an ATM
With your debit card, either Visa or Mastercard you can get cash from an ATM (with a credit card it's possible but would be much more expensive). In Russia ATMs are almost everywhere, usually, you will find them near banks (e.g. Sberbank which presented in every city) or in supermarkets. You can also try to use Visa or Mastercard ATM locators.
The exchange rate offered by Visa or Mastercard is usually better than in money exchange office. The exchange rate applied by Visa is available at this link and the rate applied by Mastercard can be found here. But check the rate with your bank first, as banks usually apply an additional fee for extraction and one for currency exchange.
Also, tell your bank you're travelling to Russia before the trip. Although the policies of banks vary, the sudden purchases from Russia might look suspicious for the bank's anti-fraud software, and your card would be blocked unless you explain the context.