Skip to main content

Looking for reliable information on Cyprus banks? Whether you need to open a bank account, compare fees, or find the best banking options, we’ve got you covered.

Discover everything you need to know about banking in Cyprus right here.

Key takeaways

  • The Cypriot banking sector comprises 16 banks, offering a variety of services including personal, corporate, savings, offshore, and merchant accounts, with significant regulatory oversight from the Central Bank of Cyprus.
  • Leading banks such as Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic Bank, Eurobank Cyprus, Alpha Bank Cyprus, and Societe Generale Bank Cyprus provide comprehensive services ranging from personal and business accounts to loans, mortgages, and international transaction facilitation.
  • Opening a bank account in Cyprus requires specific documentation and typically takes around two weeks, while fees and charges vary by account type and services used, with online and mobile banking platforms ensuring high security and accessibility.

Overview of Cyprus banking system

Illustration of the Central Bank of Cyprus

The banking system in Cyprus has undergone significant restructuring and reform since the financial crisis of 2013. These reforms were aimed at strengthening regulations and supervision to ensure a more resilient financial environment. The Central Bank of Cyprus is instrumental in overseeing private banks to ensure compliance with international standards and EU directives.

There are 16 banks operating in Cyprus, including five local and eleven international banks. This array of banks furnishes a vast spectrum of services that cater to the needs of both local and foreign individuals and businesses. The types of accounts available include personal, employment, corporate, savings, offshore, and merchant accounts, offering flexibility for various financial needs.

From opening personal and business accounts to providing loans, mortgages, insurance, and investment opportunities, Cypriot banks deliver a plethora of services. They also support modern banking conveniences like mobile apps for easy account management. The primary currency in Cyprus is the euro, simplifying transactions within the Eurozone. This robust and diverse banking environment sets the stage for exploring the leading banks in the country.

Leading banks in Cyprus

Illustration of Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank

The Cypriot banking landscape is dominated by several key players, each offering unique services and benefits. The banks in the list include:

Each national bank in the list tailors its range of services to meet the diverse needs of customers, from personal banking to corporate solutions.

Exploring these banks in detail reveals the specific advantages and services they offer. Whether you need a simple savings account, a comprehensive business solution, or international banking services, these leading banks cater to a variety of financial needs, including offering competitive savings accounts. We will now examine the specifics of each bank to garner a better understanding of their offerings.

Bank of Cyprus

Bank of Cyprus, the country’s largest Cypriot bank, is distinguished by its broad scope of services. It operates 84 Cyprus branches across the island, including a prominent Cyprus branch, and has a presence in the UK, Australia, Greece, and Romania. The bank offers instant processing of electronic transactions for local payments and uses a network of correspondent banks for international payments.

For personal banking, Bank of Cyprus provides various deposit products, including Instant Access Accounts, Notice Accounts, and Fixed Deposits. Their Quick Account is particularly noteworthy as it can be managed online, comes with a debit card, and allows for standing orders and direct debits without maintenance fees. In addition to banking services, the bank offers life and general insurance products through its subsidiaries, Eurolife and General Insurance of Cyprus.

Business clients benefit from specialised services such as trade finance facilities and escrow services, with support for large Cypriot and international groups looking to expand overseas. The bank’s comprehensive offerings make it a versatile choice for both personal and business banking needs.

Hellenic Bank

Hellenic Bank, the second-largest bank in Cyprus, provides its customers with a broad spectrum of services. For retail clients, the bank provides personal loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Their Hellenic Bank Current Account features instant access to money, a debit card, a cheque book, and 24/7 online and mobile banking.

Business customers are also well-catered for, with services that include:

  • business accounts
  • cards
  • financing options
  • cash management services

This comprehensive suite of services makes Hellenic Bank a strong contender for both personal and business banking in Cyprus.

Eurobank Cyprus

Eurobank Cyprus emphasises personalised customer service and operates 11 branches across the country. This focus on tailored service, combined with a robust network of branches, ensures that customers receive attentive and customised banking solutions.

Alpha Bank Cyprus

Alpha Bank Cyprus, along with other financial institutions like Jordan Ahli Bank and Jordan Kuwait Bank, presents a selection of accounts and services catering to both individuals and businesses. These include:

  • Deposit accounts
  • Term deposit accounts
  • Foreign currency accounts
  • Current accounts

These options provide a range of choices to meet diverse financial needs.

Societe Generale Bank Cyprus

Societe Generale Bank Cyprus serves a wide-ranging clientele that includes:

  • individuals
  • small enterprises
  • large businesses
  • international organisations

For individual customers, the bank offers the SGBCy Current Account, which provides a convenient and flexible banking solution.

Businesses can also benefit from a range of services, including:

  • Current accounts
  • Overdraft accounts
  • Loans
  • Credit and debit cards

This wide array of services ensures that Societe Generale Bank Cyprus can meet the needs of various customer segments effectively.

How to open a bank account in Cyprus

While the process of opening a bank account in Cyprus is straightforward, it does necessitate certain documentation. For personal accounts, you’ll need a valid ID or passport, an application form, and a recent utility bill. Business accounts require more documentation, including the Articles of Association, information about the company representative, and proof of legal address in Cyprus.

The process typically takes around two weeks and can even be done remotely by appointing a local representative. This flexibility makes it relatively easy for both residents and non-residents to open bank accounts in Cyprus.

Fees and charges in Cyprus banks

The fees in Cypriot banks differ based on the type of account and the services employed. Here are some examples:

  • Opening a bank account is usually free.
  • Maintenance fees can range from €3 to €8 per month.
  • For example, AstroBank charges €2 for a current account maintenance fee and an additional €5 for dormant accounts.

Money transfer fees also vary based on the destination, amount, and currency. Transferring up to €1,000 within the EU costs €8, while transferring the same amount to a non-EU/EEA country can cost €35. Credit card interest rates range from 9% to 12%, depending on the bank.

Online and mobile banking in Cyprus

Illustration of Online and Mobile Banking

Online and mobile banking services offered by Cypriot banks are robust, providing users with round-the-clock access to account management, money transfers, and bill payments through online banking. These platforms are designed with a user-friendly interface and maximum security measures to protect personal data.

Customers can choose between SMS Digipass or Digipass APP for transaction authentication, ensuring a high level of security. Online registration is available for individuals, while business users can obtain the necessary documents from branches or websites.

Permanent residency and banking benefits

Securing permanent residency in Cyprus comes with a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Easier access to banking services
  • The ability to own and operate businesses
  • Access to high-quality medical care
  • The ability to enter the country anytime

Residency can be obtained through investment in real estate or securities worth at least €300,000.

The process usually takes about three months, and once obtained, residency is valid for life but must be renewed every five years. This status also provides the opportunity to apply for Cypriot citizenship after five years of residency.

Alternative money management options

Alternative money management options in Cyprus are available through digital-only banks like Revolut and Bunq. These banks provide everyday banking services, including the ability to pay bills, via a smartphone app, with low fees and favorable exchange rates for international transactions.

Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is another popular option for international money transfers. It offers low fees and transparent exchange rates, making it ideal for those sending money to and from Cyprus. These alternatives provide flexible and cost-effective solutions for managing money in a digital age.

Impact of proposed profit tax on Cypriot banks

AKEL’s proposed profit tax aims at taxing banks’ windfall profits with the intent to establish a Solidarity Fund to aid borrowers. This includes a 5% exceptional solidarity fee for 2024 and 2025, based on the net interest income increase compared to 2022.

However, this proposal has raised concerns from the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Cyprus, and the European Central Bank. They argue that the additional taxation could destabilise the financial system and undermine financial stability in the Eurozone.

Critics also point out that recent bank profitability results from strategic management rather than unexpected gains.

Summary

In summary, the Cypriot banking system offers a wide range of services tailored to meet the needs of both personal and business customers. From opening a bank account to understanding the fees and leveraging online banking, there are many opportunities to manage your finances effectively in Cyprus.

Whether you’re considering permanent residency or exploring alternative money management options, understanding the banking landscape is crucial. The insights provided in this guide should empower you to make informed financial decisions and take full advantage of the banking services available in Cyprus.

If you liked this article leave a comment or reply here