From leaving behind everything they own to not knowing the fate of loved ones, refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine face numerous tremendous challenges. An often overlooked challenged is a very limited ability to liquidize assets, especially as the National Bank of Ukraine has suspended the exchange of hryvnias into foreign cash in order to protect the country’s foreign exchange reserves. In response, many financial institutions have developed services to help facilitate the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees, including:
- Revolut – Revolut is enabling those who have crossed Ukraine’s borders to access their money by linking the app to their Ukrainian bank account, thereby allowing them to access additional currencies and savings mechanisms. Revolut has also eased proof of residence requirements to ensure as many refugees as possible can set up an account quickly and access their funds.
- CaixaBank – CaixaBank’s Social Account is helping to ensure the financial inclusion of people who provide proof of their vulnerable situation. The Social Account offers a checking account, a debit card, access to e-banking and free use of CaixaBank ATMs, including check deposits. The account can have one or multiple holders and it has no service fees. CaixaBank has also implemented an interpretation service that branches can request as needed.
- Incharge – has created a banking services app specifically for refugees. The app will offer free banking services and physical or virtual debit cards to all Ukrainian nationals fleeing the country. Refugees who require access to banking and financial services to buy essential goods, pay bills and send money home to their families can now open an Incharge account remotely, easily and without cost.
- Latvian banks – several Latvian banks have introduced simplified procedures for setting up a current account and receiving a payment card for Ukrainian refugees who. Some of these simplified procedures, including the reviewing and opening of an account application as well as the issuance and use of a payment card, are free of charge.
- Croatian banks – the Croatian National Bank (HNB) recently informed retail banks based in Croatia that they are expected to provide Ukrainian refugees legally staying in Croatia with free access to basic payment accounts, including ten free-of-charge national and international transactions. Some banks are also offering additional facilities to refugees.