Using Fintech to Help Refugees from UkraineBy Juan Miguel Guerra | Thu, 03/31/2022 - 13:00
Although Mexico saw almost two centuries of constant war and a number of foreign invasions, most people in our country today do not have direct experience of an all-out war, which I hope remains true for many generations. As a result, it might be hard for most of us to imagine the crucial role financial services play in the lives of refugees but let’s try to picture the circumstances of somebody fleeing a war:
Late one night, a deafening sound makes you jump out of bed. You see a column of fire and smoke rising from your neighbor’s building. War has erupted. After a moment of shock, you and your husband grab the children and what belongings you can before rushing out the door, starting your car and driving to the safety of the border. A trip which should have taken hours, takes days. When you finally reach the border, your husband says his goodbyes, leaving the three of you in a queue with others fleeing the country. You watch in tears as he returns home to fight. You are eventually admitted into the neighboring country and, after some days in a freezing shelter, a local family takes you in. They are not wealthy and you would like to help cover your expenses, but you don’t have access to your bank account anymore … where do you even start?
The war in Ukraine has been deeply felt at Revolut. Our co-founders, Vlad and Nik, were born in Ukraine and Russia, respectively. It did not take long for Revolut to respond. On Feb. 25, the day after the invasion began, Revolut launched a donations campaign to support the Red Cross Ukraine appeal, which raised over €1 million in 24 hours and over €10 million so far.
Since that day, there has been a flurry of activity at Revolut, with people dedicating their working hours and spare time to help. As of March 14, Revolut has been offering accounts for Ukrainian refugees, whether they’re citizens or not, in full compliance with local regulations. This helps refugees receive aid and access their money in Ukraine quickly and for free. For people in a situation of extreme vulnerability, this can be a lifeline.
Revolut is not the only fintech to respond. PayPal and Xoom allow customers to send money for cash pick-up in Ukraine or to top up mobile phone plans. Even the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine has set up a crypto donation website, raising over US$52 million so far. Some of my friends started innovating at home, booking stays around Ukraine through Airbnb and other platforms as a means of donating directly to families there.
I am proud of how the fintech community and Revolut in particular, in cooperation with our customers and charity partners, are getting things done. But there’s still so much more we can and will do. Watch this space.
If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, visit www.revolut.com/careers to find positions all around the world.