PayPal Holdings on Thursday expanded its services to allow Ukrainian citizens and refugees to pay abroad, a move a senior Ukrainian official called a “huge aid” as Russian forces continue to invade the country.
PayPal chief executive Dan Schulmann told Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Fedorov in a letter that Ukrainians would also be able to transfer funds from their PayPal accounts to eligible credit and debit cards. The company waived its fees on such transactions until June 30.
More than 3 million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia launched its offensive on February 24, a move Russia has described as a “special military operation.”
PayPal’s move would allow refugees and Ukrainians to receive funds from friends and family members in the United States and elsewhere, and could be used by the government to provide social funding in the future, said Vladislav Rashkov, Ukraine’s alternate executive director of the International Monetary Fund. .
“It makes a huge difference to people,” Rashkovan told Reuters, praising Shulman’s personal commitment to completing the change in just two weeks.
Rashkovan said he had talked to some Ukrainians on the street outside his office about the new powers and that they had immediately opened an account at PayPal.com to send money to their relatives. He added that since Russia annexed Crimea, Ukrainian authorities have been pushing for expanded services since 2015.
PayPal says it will begin offering expanded services from Thursday, allowing customers to send and receive funds in dollars, Canadian dollars, British pounds and euros from their Ukrainian PayPal wallet.
Once a customer transfers funds from their PayPal wallet to a valid Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, money will be available in the currency associated with that card.
PayPal is waiving its fees for a few weeks, noting that the exchange rates and fees charged by any customer’s card issuer or bank account may still apply.
Previously, Ukrainian citizens could send money from PayPal accounts, but were unable to receive funds.
PayPal shut down its services in Russia earlier this month, suspending the activities of many financial and technology companies there after the Ukraine invasion.
Thomson Reuters 2022