PayPal is expanding services available to its Ukrainian users and waives fees to aid humanitarian efforts in the country during the ongoing invasion of Russia. According to an press releaseUkrainians will be able to send and receive peer-to-peer PayPal or Xoom payments, and the company will not apply its normal fees to both sides of the transaction (h/t CNN Business†
PayPal also says it will give Ukrainians the ability to transfer money from their accounts to Mastercard and Visa cards. Citizens who have fled the country can also access these features if they create a Ukrainian PayPal account. The company says Ukrainians can send and receive money in US and Canadian dollars, as well as in British pounds and euros. (The official currency of Ukraine is the hryvnia.)
PayPal attached to The edge that before the change took effect Thursday, Ukrainian customers could only send, not receive, cross-border transfers. PayPal didn’t immediately answer why they couldn’t receive money earlier — the company’s spokesperson Tom Hunter said only that “functionality varies by market” based on “a number of factors”. Ukrainian customers were able to receive money from friends and family in the US, Canada, the UK and other parts of Europe through PayPal’s cash pick-up and prepaid cell phone top up, according to a message from the company about his efforts in Ukraine.
PayPal notes that the changes, including the removal of fees, are for a limited time – they are currently only in effect until June 30, 2022. But as the situation “develops,” PayPal says it reserves the right to make changes to but will post notices on its site if and when such is the case.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov has actively reached out to many technology companies and asked them to help Ukraine and cut services to Russia. According to a letter he posted on Twitterhe had contacted PayPal with a request to expand their services in the country before the company made the change.
Fedorov has also successfully solicited help from companies like SpaceX – he tweeted to Elon Musk asking him to provide Ukraine with Starlink satellite internet dishes and a few days later posted a photo of a truckload of the devices.
Earlier this month, PayPal paused most of its services in Russia shortly after it stopped accepting new users from the country. (The company said at the time it would “continue to process customer payouts for a period of time”.) International sanctions have limited Russian citizens’ access to other financial services, such as Apple and Google Pay, as well as the system that helps carry out many international money transfers.