PayPal is offering more features for free to Ukrainian users

PayPal is expanding its services to its Ukrainian users and waiving fees to help the country’s humanitarian efforts amid the ongoing Russian invasion, The Verge reported. According to a press release, Ukrainians will be able to send and receive person-to-person PayPal or Xoom payments, and the company will not charge normal fees to either party to the transaction.

PayPal also said it gave Ukrainians the ability to transfer money from their accounts to Mastercard and Visa. Citizens fleeing the country will also be able to use these features if they set up a Ukrainian PayPal account. Ukrainians will be able to send and receive funds in U.S. dollars and Canadian dollars, as well as British pounds and euros, the company said. (The official currency of Ukraine is the hryvnia).

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PayPal confirmed to The Verge that before the change went into effect Thursday, Ukrainian customers could only send cross-border transfers, not receive them. PayPal didn’t directly answer why they couldn’t receive funds before — company spokesman Tom Hunter said only that “features vary by the market” based on “a number of factors.”

According to the company’s post about its work in Ukraine, Ukrainian customers are able to receive money from friends and family in the US, Canada, the UK and other parts of Europe through PayPal’s cash pickup and prepaid mobile phone top-up.

PayPal notes that the changes, including cancellation fees, are time-bound — currently planned to only take effect until June 30, 2022. However, as the situation is “evolving,” PayPal said it reserves the right to make any changes, but will post a notice on its website if or once a change is made.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation has been actively contacting a number of tech companies, asking them to help Ukraine cut off services to Russia. According to a letter he posted on Twitter before PayPal made the change, he had contacted PayPal to ask them to expand their services in the country.

Fedorov has also successfully sought help from companies like SpaceX — he begged Elon Musk on Twitter to supply Ukraine with Starlink satellite internet antennas, and a few days later he posted a truck full of the equipment Photo.

Earlier this month, PayPal suspended most of its services in Russia shortly after it stopped accepting new users from Russia. (The company said at the time that it would “continue to process customer withdrawals for some time.”) International sanctions have restricted Russian citizens’ use of other financial services, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as systems that help make many international money transfers.

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