How do foreign banks provide services to Ukrainian refugees?
Russia’s war in Ukraine has already caused more than 4 million citizens to flee the country. This is the fastest flow of refugees since the Second World War. Indeed big numbers for Ukraine, although 80% of those who have left are planning to return. But while our citizens are outside the country, they have to adapt to the new conditions. How do foreign banks contribute to achieving this?
In order to support Ukrainians, banks in some countries simplify the procedure of opening an account for our citizens and give other benefits. It’s enough to have an international passport or another identity document to get a bank account. For example, in Poland, a citizen of Ukraine will be able to open an account and receive a card for free in the main banks of the country. You will also be able to transfer money from or to Ukraine without a commission fee.
In the Czech Republic Ukrainians may open preferential accounts, which provide financial assistance in the amount of 2–3 thousand crowns. Our citizens have already opened 70 thousand accounts. But it is important to remember that in this country there are problems with the exchange of Ukrainian currency, so it is better to exchange money at the entrance.
In Moldova, you can also open a free bank account in lei or foreign currency, under a simplified procedure. For example, in OTP Bank, you will receive a card that allows you to withdraw cash from ATMs without commissions within the limits, and to make currency exchange transactions with the Ukrainian hryvnia.
Some payment platforms have followed the example of banks. So if you come to one of the EU countries and want to open an account remotely, you should check out the Genome platform. Without a service fee, Ukrainians can: open a personal account, including a multi-currency account; pay no fees for this account; and receive a free physical card. Transactions are controlled by the Lithuanian Central Bank.
British Revolut Bank was one of the first to provide its service to Ukrainians. Now we can link an open account with our hryvnia card. In Revolut’s mobile app, you can get a virtual bank card and pay with your smartphone in the country’s local currency or withdraw cash.
Under a similar simplified procedure, which requires only a passport, Ukrainian citizens can already open accounts in Austria, Slovakia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.
Thus, the banking systems create all kinds of conditions for financial inclusiveness for Ukrainian citizens. They can help you open an account, and offer additional services or financial assistance. It’s even easier to use non-banking services and make all your payments by phone. Pay particular attention to the country’s major banks, which offer a wide range of free services.