Bank vetoes couple’s war aid transfer method

Holding the eftpos machine used to send thousands of dollars overseas from their Dunedin store...
Holding the eftpos machine used to send thousands of dollars overseas from their Dunedin store are Looking Good Alterations owners and Ukrainians Alina Polkova and Sergiy Gumenjuk. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The Ukrainian owners of a Dunedin business are desperate for a cheap and fast way to transfer money home after they were banned from using the eftpos machine in their store.

Looking Good Alterations co-owner Sergiy Gumenjuk said that when he and his wife Alina Polkova heard of the conflict back home they immediately thought to send money to help out.

The quickest and most efficient way to transfer money was using the eftpos machine at their store.

To do this he entered the number for a Ukrainian credit card and used the refund option, which would send the money almost instantly with no fee.

He and his wife managed to send about $2000 in small amounts, such as $100-$200, which was sent to individuals they knew who needed immediate help.

Mr Gumenjuk did not know that what they were doing was against the rules.

Their transfers were halted by their bank, ANZ, which sent them a notice to cease the transfers as using the machine in that way was against the terms and conditions, Mr Gumenjuk said.

Instead they were told to use direct transfers to bank accounts, not credit cards, which took days and incurred a large fee, he said.

It was important the money went to credit cards, as the same card could be used in Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic, among other countries.

Withdrawing it from bank accounts just added more delays.

The bank was clearly able to get the money over there quickly and cheaply and under the circumstances it should be willing to accommodate, he said.

Even a few more days of being able to send money through the refund method would have made a big difference, he said.

A $150 transfer to a person fleeing Ukraine would pay for a week of food, which was why speed was vital.

"People are losing their lives," he said.

He had resorted to using PayPal to transfer money, but the long delays and the inability to put money directly on to a credit card made it unsuitable for his needs.

An ANZ spokeswoman said the Dunedin branch had contacted the business directly to talk to them about the issue.

Using eftpos machines was not how money transferred should be performed and was a breach of the terms and conditions.

However, to support those impacted by the crisis in Ukraine, transfer fees were waived for all international money transfer via ANZ Internet Banking and ANZ goMoney to Ukraine.

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