Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is a great destination to visit or move to as an expatriate. If you are coming from Australia, you can visit Cyprus visa free for 90 days in every 180 days and if you can prove financial means or find employment, you can stay a little longer.
If you are thinking of moving to Cyprus, you should consider opening a local bank account. Once you are through with this article, you’ll learn whether you can open an account before you arrive and get to know some of the features of the Cypriot banking system.
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What are the biggest Banks in Cyprus?
Despite its size, Cyprus has a few local commercial banking options that residents and foreign nationals can open a bank account with. Here are the 3 biggest local banks in Cyprus.
Bank of Cyprus
The Bank of Cyprus(BoC) is the largest banking institution in Cyprus and has been in operation since 1899. BoC offers all types of financial services that fall under personal, wealth, wholesale and international products.¹
Hellenic Bank has been operating since 1976, and offers customers a range of financial services including current accounts, savings accounts, business services, credit cards, insurance and loans.²
Alpha Bank Cyprus is part of one of the largest financial groups in Greece, the Alpha group. Alpha Bank Cyprus offers a complete spectrum of financial products targeted towards individual, business and international banking.³
These banks share a large portion of the local customer base. However, they aren’t the only local options to choose from. Some other smaller cypriot banks include:
- Ancoria Bank
- RCB Bank
- Cyprus Development Bank
You’ll also find offices and branches of some of the larger foreign-owned banks located in the bigger cities on the island.
What are the usual bank fees in Cyprus
When it comes to the costs of opening and maintaining a bank account in Cyprus, there are some common fees that you’ll come across. This includes an account opening fee, an ongoing monthly fee, specific transaction fees such as on foreign transfers, and ATM withdrawal fees.
To get an idea of what to expect, we’ll break down some of these common fees using a table below, comparing fees from two of Cyprus's big banking options.
Fee comparison between basic Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank accounts
|Fees* ||Bank of Cyprus Current account⁵ ||Hellenic Bank Basic account⁶ |
|Account opening ||Included in monthly subscription fee ||Included in monthly subscription fee |
|Monthly fee ||€5 per month ||€1.50 per month |
|Card fees ||€7.50 annual fee for Visa Classic ||Free with account and no annual subscription fees |
|ATM and Branch withdrawals ||Branch |
0.15% or maximum €5 withdrawal fee
ATM (per transaction)
BoC ATM = Free
Other ATM = €3 + 3% conversion fee
Less than €10 000 = €2
More than €10 000 = €5
Hellenic ATM = Free
Non Hellenic ATM for EUR or SEK = Free
Non Hellenic ATM other currency = €4.20 or 3.33% on amount (whichever is greater) + 2.90% conversion fee
|SEPA and International Transfers ||SEPA transfers online banking (within EU in EUR) |
Processing fee = €10 +
Less than €1000 = free
€1000 - €5000 = €3
€5000 - €50 000 = €6
Over €50 000 = 0.15% or €250 (whichever is less)
International transfers online banking
Processing fee = €10 + 0.15% or €250 max fee + 0.4% or €400 max conversion fee
|SEPA transfers online banking (within EU in EUR) |
€0-€1000 = free
€1000-€50 000 = €5 or 0.15% fee (whichever is less)
Above €50 000 = 0.10% or €200 (whichever is less)
International transfers online banking
Other currency = 2.90% of amount conversion fee + 0.10% or max €200
*Fees up to date as of 11th August 2022
The fees above may vary if you decide to go with an account that comes with added features and benefits.
Can an Australian open an account in Cyprus?
To be able to open a bank account in many countries would require a valid visa or residency permit. However in Cyprus, this is not the case. To open an account, you will need to be over the age of 18 and for some nationalities, provide just a valid identification document.
As an Australian, you can only open a personal bank account in Cyprus if you are planning to move to Cyprus, or you have already arrived and have some basic documents ready. Continue reading to see what these are.
What is the procedure to open an account in Cyprus
If you are moving to Cyprus from Australia, you can get the process started before touching down on the island; or if you aren’t in a rush, you can leave it for when you arrive, it’s completely up to you.
Here are the general steps you need to take if you decide to start the process online, for banks that support this.
- Visit the banks website
- Fill out an online application form
- Upload the required documents electronically
If you find that you don’t have the required documents listed by your chosen Cyprus bank, then this might mean settling in and then visiting a branch after a few weeks. This will always be the easiest option as an Australian non-resident in Cyprus.
For specific document requirements, you should always make contact with the Cyprus bank you choose to confirm what is required, as it still might be possible to complete the entire process from abroad. Each of the big banks outline their own list of documents they require to open an account online or in a branch. Let’s go through some common ones below.
What documents do you need to open a Cyprus bank account?
There are three types of documents that are mandatory to open a bank account in Cyprus. These are a valid identification document, a proof of residence and a bank specific application form.
As an Australian looking to open a Cyprus bank account, you'll need to provide a valid Australian passport. This is the same requirement for many other nationalities planning to come to Cyprus and open an account.
Proof of Residence documents
When it comes to proof of residence, the document must display a valid local address in Cyprus and the applicant's name. Some documents that you generally find these details include:
- Utility bill issued by a Cypriot official authority not older than 6 months
- Municipal tax document
- Home insurance document
- Bank statement by a different financial institution
Finally, you’ll need to fill out a bank specific application form which can be completed online or in branch.⁴
Some other documents that may be requested include:
- Alien Registration Card (ARC)
- Refugee Travel Document
It is also possible that some banks will require you to visit a branch to provide your signature to finalise an account. For example, Bank of Cyprus clearly outlines that your presence is required to complete your account opening process and activate your debit card.⁴
Alternative banks with special accounts for foreigners/non-residents
If you aren’t looking for a personal bank account, then a unique feature of the Cypriot banking system is that off-shore companies, whether they are registered in Cyprus or another country, can open a merchant or off-shore bank account.
This is another account option that Australian business owners can take advantage of if they meet bank-specific eligibility requirements.
The Wise multi-currency account
If you want to skip the Cypriot bank processes, you can open an account with Wise. Opening a Wise Multi-currency account is easy and can be done online. Once you do, you’ll get your own local account details in several international world currencies including the Euro and AUD (full list here).
This means you can easily send and receive money when you are in Cyprus. To spend like a local, you can order a Wise debit card attached to your multi-currency account and benefit from low, transparent fees and the real exchange rate on purchases.
Opening an account is free, so why not check it out for yourself and see what Wise can do for you.
Open your Wise account in minutes
- Bank of Cyprus history and services
- Hellenic Bank history and products
- Alpha Bank information and services
- Bank of Cyprus documents and bank presence
- Bank of Cyprus fees
- Hellenic Bank fees
Sources checked on: 16 August 2022
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