June 13, 2024
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Cyprus banking system: how to open an account in a Cypriot bank

Cyprus’s banks operate according to the European Union laws and regulations, making them reliable and attractive for individuals and businesses. There are 16 banks: 5 local and 11 international.

Foreigners can open business or personal bank accounts, take out loans or mortgages, use mobile banking, and benefit from other services.

Cypriot banks are also suitable for people who plan to transfer money not only within the EU only but around the world.

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Knows how to open a bank account in Cyprus

Banking system of Cyprus

Cyprus banking system: how to open an account in a Cypriot bank

Cyprus’s banks: key features

The financial sector is one of the leading sectors of Cyprus’s economy. The country houses 16 banks: both local and international.

One of the main advantages of Cyprus’s banking system is that foreigners can start opening an account in a Cypriot bank remotely from any part of the world.

Some foreigners choose to get a country’s permanent residence to make becoming a bank’s client easier. Terms of obtaining Cyprus permanent residence

Currencies. The main currency in Cyprus is the euro, so by default, all the transactions are made in euros. Operating with US and Canadian dollars, Swiss francs, and other currencies is also possible.

Regulations. The Cypriot banking system is controlled by the Central Bank of Cyprus, which takes care of both local and international banks.

Since 2014, the Central Bank of Cyprus has been a part of the European system of central banks. Therefore, it works following EU laws and standards.

Products and services. Cypriot banks offer services to both citizens and foreigners. You can:

  • open different types of accounts;

  • take a loan or a mortgage;

  • invest;

  • get insurance;

  • use mobile banking.

Business hours. Most banks work from Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. On Fridays, some of them also have short days. On weekends and official holidays, bank offices are closed. However, ATMs work daily, so withdrawing money is always possible.

Public holidays when banks are closed are the following:

  • January 6th — Epiphany day;

  • February 27th — Green Monday;

  • April 14th — Good Friday;

  • April 17th — Easter Monday;

  • April 18th — Easter Tuesday;

  • May 1st — Labour Day;

  • June 5th — Pentecost;

  • August 15th — Assumption Day;

  • December 25th — Christmas Day;

  • December 26th — Boxing Day.

List of banks in Cyprus: local and international

There are 16 banks in Cyprus. Five of them are local and considered the biggest banks in the country:

  1. Bank of Cyprus was opened in 1899, and now it has 84 branches all over Cyprus. It also has branches in other countries: the UK, Australia, Greece, and Romania. The Euromoney magazine has named the Bank of Cyprus the country’s Best bank in 2022.

  2. Hellenic Bank is the second largest bank in the country after the Bank of Cyprus. It has 82 branches and offers services to both individuals and legal entities. For example, opening a bank account, taking a loan or issuing insurance. In 2021 and 2022, the Global Finance magazine named Hellenic Bank the best Cypriot bank.

  3. Ancoria Bank is the youngest bank in Cyprus, which was opened in 2016. It offers services to both individuals and legal entities. Three branches are located in Nicosia, Limassol, and Larnaca.

  4. AstroBank has been operating since 2008. It has 14 branches where you can open a personal and business account, take out a loan or a mortgage, and buy insurance.

  5. Cyprus Development Bank was founded in 1963. It works with domestic and international clients and offers services to individuals and companies.

Other banks are international and come from both EU and non-EU countries:

  • Αlpha Bank Cyprus;

  • Eurobank Cyprus;

  • National Bank of Greece (Cyprus);

  • Societe Generale Bank-Cyprus;

  • Banque SBA;

  • Central Cooperative Bank;

  • EFG Bank;

  • First Investment Bank;

  • Arab Jordan Investment Bank;

  • Jordan Ahli Bank;

  • Jordan Kuwait Bank.

How to open a bank account in a Cypriot bank

You can open an account by visiting a branch of a specific bank or by using an app.

Personal account. The list of documents can vary from bank to bank, but the basic package includes the following:

  • an ID or a passport;

  • proof of current address, for instance, a utility bill;

  • a reference letter from the previous bank proving good credit history;

  • a letter explaining the goal of opening an account and remarking the sum of money that you will deposit.

Opening a personal bank account in a Cyprus bank from abroad is also possible. You need to download an app from a particular bank to do so. Then you need to scan your ID card or passport to authenticate your personal details and take a selfie to confirm them. Lastly, enter the code sent to your mobile phone and create a password.

With an app, you can transfer money, pay bills, check your balance, etc.

Corporate account. The complete list of documents depends on the bank, but in general, you would need to provide the following:

  • a company charter;

  • a registration certificate;

  • a company share certificate;

  • a certificate of good credit history —for foreign companies if they have been open for more than 2 years;

  • a director and secretary certificate;

  • a confirmation of the actual address — location of the office;

  • a confirmation of the legal address.

Fees in Cypriot banks

Opening an account in Cypriot banks is free of charge; however, you would need to pay a maintenance fee. For example, individuals pay €2 for a current account in AstroBank. In the Bank of Cyprus, the maintenance fee for a savings account is €5.

If you don’t use an account, it will be considered dormant, and there will be an additional fee, for example, €5 in AstroBank or €6 in the Bank of Cyprus.

The interest rate for a credit card is around 9—12%.

Fees for transferring money depend on where to, how much and in which currency you’re transferring. For example, if you need to transfer up to €1,000 to a bank account within the EU, you would need to pay €8. If you transfer the same amount to a non-EU/EEA country, the fee will be €35.

Loan and mortgage rates in the majority of Cypriot banks depend on Euribor rates. It means that when the Eurinor interest rates rise, so does the interest rate in Cyprus banks, and vice versa.

As for the rates, you can take a mortgage at around 5% and a loan for a new car at 6—7% in Alpha Bank Cyprus. Interest rates for loans on the purchase of used cars are higher by 1—1.5%.

Permanent residency in Cyprus for using all bank services

Non-residents of Cyprus can use the services of the country’s banks. However, before they are eligible, for instance, to open an account, they need to undergo strict Due Diligence conducted by a bank.

It is easier to open a bank account if you’re a country resident. Some people participate in the Cyprus Golden Visa program, which equals permanent residency.

Permanent residency can be obtained by investment. An applicant must invest at least €300,000 in the country’s economy. Investors can purchase residential and commercial real estate, shares of Cypriot companies, and securities. Cyprus permanent residency by investment

To be eligible, the investor must meet several requirements:

  • be over 18;

  • have no criminal records or prosecutions, restrictions or bans on entry to the EU and the UK;

  • not be under sanctions;

  • have impeccable personal and business reputations;

  • have a legal income of at least €50,000 per year;

  • own or rent accommodation in Cyprus;

  • have a medical report and medical insurance.

When applying, investors can add their close family members: spouses or partners and children.

The average time of obtaining permanent residents is 3+ months. To maintain the status, the investor and their family must visit Cyprus once every 2 years.

In brief: what you need to know about Cyprus banking

  1. There are 16 banks in Cyprus: 5 local and 11 international. Most of them offer services to both individuals and legal entities.

  2. Cypriot banks offer the following services: opening personal and business accounts, taking loans and mortgages, buying insurance, and investing. Banks have apps that allow customers to use mobile banking.

  3. To open a personal or business account, you must collect certain documents. The basic package is the same in every bank.

  4. Opening an account is free of charge; however, you would need to pay the maintenance fees. It can be around €3—8, depending on the account type.

  5. Fees vary from bank to bank. Generally, a mortgage is offered at 5%; car loans are 6—7%. The credit card rate is 9—12%.

  6. To facilitate opening a bank account in Cyprus, you can become the country’s resident. You need to invest €300,000+ in the country’s economy. In exchange, you will be granted Cyprus permanent residency.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are international banks in Cyprus?

    Most of the banks in Cyprus are international. For example, international banks that operate in the country are:

    • Αlpha Bank;

    • Eurobank Cyprus;

    • National Bank of Greece;

    • Banque SBA;

    • Central Cooperative Bank;

    • EFG Bank;

    • First Investment Bank.

  • What is the most popular bank in Cyprus?

    The Bank of Cyprus is the most popular in the country as it has 80+ branches. Its headquarters are located in Strovolos.

  • Can a foreigner open a bank account in Cyprus?

    Yes, foreigners can open a bank account in a Cyprus bank. It can be done both online through an app or offline in one of the bank branches.

  • Can I open a bank account in Cyprus online?

    Yes, you can open an account in a Cypriot bank online. To do so, you need to download an app from a specific bank, scan your ID card or passport to authenticate your personal details, and confirm them by taking a selfie.