Santander Bank Polska has been working with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to develop a solution that provides quick and secure access to cash for refugees fleeing to Poland from Ukraine to support their transition and integration into the country.
Warsaw, 7th of April 2022.
The scheme, known as the UN Cash Assistance programme, uses an innovative technology delivered by Santander Bank Polska using BLIK cheques - a unique nine-digit code which can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs without requiring a payment card, bank account or any banking app on their smartphones. The service does not require the production of any plastic cards.
Refugees who register at a UNHCR reception centre are given a secure password followed by an SMS passcode which allows them to withdraw from the most ATMs across Poland, including those operated by Santander Bank Polska, PKO BP, Millenium, BNP Paribas, mBank, ING, SGB, Euronet and Planet Cash.
The initiative has already been launched at the first UNHCR reception facility in Warsaw following a successful trial period. More than 3,606 BLIK cheques have been issued since the first day of operation of UNHCR Cash Assistance, and two more reception points will soon open in Krakow and Warsaw.
More information about the UNHCR project, including information about how refugees can access the scheme, can be found at: https://help.unhcr.org/poland/information-for-new-arrivals-from-ukraine/
“The cash assistance delivered by UNHCR and its partners will help the most vulnerable refugees from Ukraine restart their lives in Poland and to cover their most basic needs in the initial period, complementing support from the Polish state. This is an important step towards more dignity and I want to thank Santander Bank Polska to help the beneficiaries take this step.” said Marin Din Kajdomcaj, UNHCR Representative in Poland.
We stand ready to support all efforts in dealing with the tragedy suffered by millions of refugees from Ukraine. We want to expand the support that we have already been providing. For this reason, we decided to partner with the UNHCR without any hesitation. Thanks to the use of advanced banking technology, we needed just a couple of days to build a solution that is now used to distribute cash aid to the people who need it.
I am extremely proud of the work our team in Poland have done to support this vitally important UN initiative. Getting cash to those in need is a critical step in rebuilding lives of those who have fled from the war. We hope this scheme will help many thousands of families and individuals.
Santander has been active in supporting the response to the humanitarian crisis. In collaboration with the Spanish authorities the bank has now helped 180 refugees to reach Spain safely and is using part of its headquarters in Boadilla as temporary accommodation for Ukrainian families. Furthermore, the bank has removed fees on all permitted transfers to Ukraine from Europe and the US; has helped raise over €10 million to aid the response; and has suspended account and card fees for Ukrainian customers in Poland as well as providing charge-free use of ATMs and ongoing access to cash in branches and via ATMs.