Revolut is making banking easier for refugees from Ukraine

14 Mar 2022

Image: © Ascannio/Stock.adobe.com

The digital bank is waiving some requirements for refugees from Ukraine to set up a Revolut account, with no fees for currency exchange.

Revolut has announced today (14 March) that it is making it easier for refugees fleeing from Ukraine to open accounts on its banking platform.

Refugees of any nationality fleeing from the invasion of Ukraine will now be able to set up accounts on the digital banking app without needing to meet all the documentation requirements, such as proof of a right to reside in Europe.

Future Human

More than 2.5m refugees who have left the country will now be able to quickly set up an account on Revolut by linking it to their Ukrainian bank account. They will also not have to pay fees on foreign exchange transactions while converting Ukrainian Hryvnia to any other currency.

“With the war in Ukraine displacing more than 2m 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,” said Vlad Yatsenko, co-founder and chief technological officer of Revolut.

A standard account has no monthly fees and can be used to send and receive money as well as exchange currency.

However, digital banks often require proof of residence or right to reside in Europe before setting up an account – which can be hard for many refugees from Ukraine to procure as many were forced to leave their home in dire situations and with short notice.

“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,” Yatsenko added.

‘Humanitarian response trumps anything’

The issue of asking for security checks on refugees fleeing war in Ukraine has caused some stir on social media.

Irish economist and podcaster David McWilliams tweeted yesterday criticising a BBC presenter for asking Taoiseach Micheál Martin whether Ireland has conducted security checks on refugees it has accepted so far.

Ireland has accepted more than 5,000 refugees from Ukraine since the Russia began invading the country late last month, with restrictions such as visa and security checks being temporarily waived to make the process smoother.

Martin said in response that security checks have been dropped because “our primary impulse is to assist those fleeing war” and that the “humanitarian response trumps anything as far as we’re concerned”.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com