Revolut offers free banking for Ukrainian refugees
Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

Revolut is offering free banking services to those seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine, as well as easing its documentation requirements and waiving FX transfer and top-up fees.

Revolut is offering free banking and payment services to all Ukrainian refugees fleeing the country following the Russian invasion at the end of February.

As well as offering its standard account to refugees, which comes free of charges, the fintech has also eased many of the requirements needed to open an account, as well as a number of FX (foreign exchange) and top-up fees.

The news means that those displaced by the invasion will “have quick and easy access to their money” should they choose to sign up for an account with Revolut.

Opening an account as a refugee

To open an account as a refugee, first and foremost you must have a smartphone to be able to download the Revolut app.

Those applying must also have either a Ukrainian passport or identity card as a means of identification for setting up an account.

However, if you are of a different nationality and coming from Ukraine, you can still open an account following the same steps but will need to upload your current passport as well as your Ukrainian visa.

The steps to open an account are as follows:

  1. Download the Revolut mobile app
  2. Select “Sign up” and use your existing phone number. It can be any phone number, including your Ukrainian phone number, as long as you can receive SMS.
  3. Select the country you are currently in as your country of residence, e.g. Ireland, Poland or Slovakia.
  4. Provide your current address, e.g. current accommodation and fill in your personal information.
  5. Confirm your identity by selecting and uploading your Ukrainian passport or identity card, or your passport and Ukrainian visa.

Vlad Yatsenko, Co-founder and CTO of Revolut, said of the initiative: 

With the war in Ukraine displacing more than two million people already, we felt it was imperative to help those most affected by providing a service that gives them easy, quick access to their money. Bank transfers are often slow and expensive so we hope this Revolut initiative provides a simpler alternative. 

I am immensely proud to be part of a British fintech that can quickly help the Ukrainian people in their time of need.

How can Ukrainians access their money?

If you’re a Ukrainian who has arrived in Ireland, Revolut will allow you to link your app and new account to your pre-existing Ukrainian bank account, therefore allowing you to access much-needed funds.

Once your account has been set up, it will be possible for you to link your bank card and begin topping up in a variety of different currencies.

What’s more, Revolut has also said it is waiving a number of FX transfer fees to ensure there are no extra charges for those seeking refuge when exchanging their Ukrainian Hryvnia into another currency, Euros for example.

Want to find out more about how the Russia-Ukraine conflict will impact the economy and household finances? Read our blog on the topic here.

Regulatory measures

To set up an e-money account in the European Economic Area (EEA) proof is required of a right to reside in Europe.

However, with many refugees understandably unable to provide such documentation, Revolut has eased this requirement to make sure as many refugees as possible can set up an account to access funds if they wish.

Although account access has been eased somewhat, the fintech has reassured customers that all the necessary measures are in place to ensure that all regulatory requirements are being properly followed.

Ukrainian Red Cross appeal

On Friday 25th February Revolut enabled customers to make free instant donations to their local Red Cross Ukraine appeal, and since then users have donated over €1 million to the charity.

The funds being raised are being used for humanitarian aid and first aid for those affected by the recent invasion, including citizens forced to leave their homes.

To date, Revolut has enabled instant Red Cross donations for users in Ireland, the UK, Lithuania, Poland, Switzerland, Portugal and Singapore, with more countries having been added since the donation feature went live.

As well as the above, Revolut also announced that it waived fees for all remittances to Ukraine, allowing users to send money at no cost to banks in the country.

Let us know your thoughts

What do you think of Revolut’s latest measure for Ukrainians? Do you have any family staying with you and would like to get them set up? Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions.

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