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Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees helped to access UK banking services

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have been able to access banking services in the UK, according to the Treasury.

UK basic bank account providers were brought together, with action taken to remove barriers to opening UK bank accounts faced by Ukrainian nationals, such as the lack of a conventional ID.

This has helped more than 70,000 people to build their lives more easily in the UK by enabling them to receive their income, send money and pay for goods.

Basic bank accounts allow people with a limited credit history to access and carry out everyday banking.

In general, basic bank accounts must be fee-free for standard use and do not have a borrowing facility, such as an overdraft, to help prevent people getting into unaffordable debt.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith said: “We will continue to help as many Ukrainian refugees as possible access the banking services they need to build a life here – and I’d like to thank UK banks and building societies for their support to date.

“A year on from the invasion, Putin should be left in no doubt that the West will not waver in its support for Ukraine and its people.”

Under the Payment Account Regulations 2015, the nine biggest personal current account (PCA) providers in the UK are legally required to offer basic bank accounts to customers who do not have a bank account or who are not eligible for a bank’s standard current account.

The nine institutions are Barclays, the Co-operative Bank, HSBC UK, Lloyds Banking Group (which also includes Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands), Nationwide Building Society, NatWest Group (including RBS and Ulster Bank brands), Santander UK, TSB and Virgin Money.

A spokesperson for trade association UK Finance said: “UK Finance and the industry is proud to have provided support to help Ukrainian refugees and we will continue to do so.

“Last year we worked at pace with members and Government to make sure banking services were available to those fleeing the conflict and we are pleased so many could access an account which has proved vital to helping them settle, and in day-to-day life.”