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Opening a current account – credit institutions should inform displaced Ukrainian nationals of the basic bank account

In a press release released on 11 March, the European Banking Authority (EBA) encouraged institutions to provide payment accounts with basic features to Ukrainian nationals displaced to EU Member States as a consequence of the war raging in that country. The EBA considers that the provision of such accounts favours the financial inclusion of displaced Ukrainian nationals.

In line with the EBA press release, credit institutions operating in Portugal are expected to promote access to the basic banking account for Ukrainian nationals displaced in Portugal, by presenting this product as the first option when a request to open an account is made. Note that, under the law, the basic bank account makes it possible for bank customers that meet all access conditions to benefit from a set of banking services deemed essential at a low cost. 

Institutions should also take into account the simplified identification and due diligence measures when opening current accounts. 

Pursuant to Article 25 of Law No 83/2017 of 18 August 2017, the residence permit issued to foreigners authorised to reside in Portugal, including under the temporary protection scheme laid down in Law No 67/2003 of 23 August 2017, is an eligible identification document for verifying the identification data contained therein. 

Moreover, under the applicable legislative framework, simplified identification and due diligence measures may be taken when financial products or services that provide appropriately defined and limited services are available so as to increase access for financial inclusion purposes of certain types of customers in the Portuguese banking system, including the beneficiaries of the temporary protection scheme who wish to access banking services in Portugal. 

In these cases, there is the possibility of merely collecting (i.e. without documentary evidence) data which should not be included in an identification document – such as address and profession – provided that the necessary safeguards are put in place so that the parties involved with the account, products and transactions made available continue to present a low risk.