Banking in Cyprus is quite easy for expats, as English is spoken in almost all branches of Cypriot banks thanks to the high degree of English literacy in the country.
Banks are usually open on Mondays through Thursdays, from 8 AM to 2:30PM, depending on the bank, though they may close half an hour earlier on Fridays.
The official currency of Cyprus is the euro, which is divided into 100 cents, although the self-proclaimed Turkish part of Cyprus uses the Turkish lira.
Euro banknotes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500, and they are differentiated from each other by both color and size. Euro coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, as well as 1 and 2 euro coins.
At ATMs, you can easily withdraw Euros using most major debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. ATM machines offer users plenty of languages to choose from, including English. You can use your debit card to withdraw money from other banks' ATMs, but you will usually be charged anywhere between 2 and 2.50 Euros per withdrawal.
You can easily find ATMs located throughout the bigger cities, but they may be more difficult to find in the countryside and smaller towns, though you should have no problem finding ATMs near the beach resorts. There is no need for extreme caution when withdrawing money in Cyprus, just be mindful and aware of your surroundings as you normally would be when withdrawing money anywhere.
Though most chains, gas stations, supermarkets, and larger stores and restaurants accept credit cards, always carry some cash with you because smaller bars, stores, and restaurants may not accept cards.
You can easily exchange your money into Euros at the airport, Cypriot banks, and at your hotel. However, you will get the best exchange rate at banks, as the exchange rate at airports and at hotels tends to be much lower.
To make sure you're getting a good rate, check the exchange rate from your currency into Euros either online or in a newspaper before arriving.
You can conduct international money transfers in Cyprus through banks, online with services such as PayPal, or telegraphically with Western Union, though the latter is the most expensive method.
Banks in Cyprus make transferring to them easy as long as you provide the IBAN number of the account and the SWIFT code. Doing a transfer by bank is the cheapest and most efficient way of sending money, especially in larger amounts, though you will be charged varying transfer fees depending on the policy of the foreign bank that is initiating the transfer.
Transferring money out of Cyprus works similarly to transferring money into the country, with the exception that Cyprus usually places limits on transferring above 5,000 Euros a month outside the country. For amounts exceeding 5,000 Euros, a transfer is still possible, but you may have to apply for the bank's approval.
Opening a bank account in Cyprus is relatively straightforward, since you don't need to provide proof of permanent residency. However, you do have to open the account in person at one of the bank's branches. The Bank of Cyprus, as well as a few other banks operating within the country, has branches in the UK where you can open an account before departure.
Each bank has its own terms and conditions, so compare and contrast several bank options before you settle on one to open an account. Once you do decide on a bank, there are several different accounts you can open.
To open a bank account, you usually need to provide the following:
Some banks may ask for additional documents, such as a letter of reference from your employer. Make sure you also obtain an ATM card when opening your account, so you can easily access your money throughout Cyprus.
The main Cypriot and international banks in Nicosia are: