Santander Bank Polska supports the UN Refugee Agency in delivering cash to Ukrainian refugees quickly and safely

Santander Bank Polska has partnered with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to provide a tool to quickly and safely transfer cash to refugees arriving in Poland from Ukraine to support their integration in the country.

The UNHCR Cash Assistance programme, uses an innovative technology provided by Santander Bank Polska based on the BLIK cheque system – a unique nine-digit code that can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs without the need for a payment card, bank account or banking app on a smartphone. The service does not require the production of any plastic cards.

Refugees who register at a UNHCR reception centre receive a secure password followed by an SMS code that allows them to withdraw money from most ATMs in 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 centre in Warsaw following a test phase. More than 3,606 BLIK cheques have been issued since the first day of operation of UNHCR Cash Assistance, and two additional UNHCR reception centres will soon open in Kraków and another one in Warsaw.

For more information on UNHCR’s Cash Assistance project, including addresses of reception points and conditions to be met to receive funding, please visit the UNHCR website.

The cash assistance provided by UNHCR and its partners will help Ukrainian refugees to start their lives afresh in Poland and cover their most basic needs in the initial phase, complementing the support from the Polish state. This is an important step towards greater independence and I would like to thank Santander Bank Polska for helping the beneficiaries to take this step.

Marin Din Kajdomcaj

UNHCR Deputy 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.

Michał Gajewski

CEO of Santander Bank Polska

Ana Botin, Santander Group Executive Chair, added ” 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 waived fees on all permitted transfers to Ukraine from Europe and the US, has helped raise over EUR 10 million to aid the response and has suspended account and card fees for Ukrainian customers in Poland and provides free of charge  use of ATMs and ongoing access to cash in branches and via ATMs.