Banking in the TRNC

Money matters

The currency of the TRNC is the Turkish Lira (TL). In recent years the TL has become more stable. The days of wildly fluctuating exchange rates and unbelievably high interest rates are over. The Turkish economy is being managed far better and has one of the best growth records in recent years. Because of the isolation of the TRNC, Turkey contributes much of the funding to the Northern Cyprus economy. In the past year, however, Turkey has requested that the TRNC government reduce public spending and a number of austerity measures are being introduced. These will create short term difficulties for TRNC citizens, including ex-pats but is necessary to provide a competitive market. A number of publicly owned enterprises may be privatised to restructure the economy. The low cost of property and lower taxes, is one of the attractions of Northern Cyprus, although like everywhere else prices have risen in recent years and continue to rise. Be aware that you may come across some discrimination in prices between those for local Cypriots and those for foreigners, a practice that is still common in many parts of the world. This is another incentive to learn to speak Turkish - you’re less likely to be charged a higher rate. You will find it much cheaper to live if you buy local produce and avoid imported goods which are expensive.

Banks

There are several banks in the TRNC offering good interest rates on savings. Many of the banks have English speaking personnel. If you need to regularly transfer money from the UK it is best to find a bank that makes that transaction easy because a cheque can take up to one month to clear. There are banks here that have an account with a UK high street bank and transferring money can be carried out via the Internet using the Faster Payment scheme. Your money will be in your TRNC bank within 5 working days. There will be a charge for this service and it is recommended that one large transfer is made, rather than several small ones, because the charge appears to be the same for each transfer, no matter the size. Presently you can open a Sterling savings account offering around 3.5 to 5% interest, far better than the UK. TL savings accounts offer a higher interest rate, presently around 8 to 10%. In July, 2010, the TRNC Government increased the bank interest tax level from 8 to 10%. It is possible to obtain cheque books and credit cards from most banks. Some of the credit cards do not allow you to withdraw cash from an ATM (only to purchase goods from retailers) so make sure you get what you require. Most retailers, do, however accept credit cards. You may find that the bank will freeze funds in another account to cover the credit card limit. You can set up standing orders with your bank to pay your monthly bills to KibTek (electricity); the Belediye (water and services) and your mobile phone etc. All you will need to provide is a copy of a recent bill (and have enough money in your account!).

How do I open a Bank account in the TRNC?

To open a bank account you will need to present your passport and a proof of address for North Cyprus or the UK. After the initial opening of the account any transactions can usually be carried out via e-mail correspondence or internet banking. There are many banks here in the TRNC, choosing the right one for you is very important. Points you have to consider are: is the internet banking in English? Does the bank have dedicated English speaking staff? Will you be eligible for a cheque book and credit cards viable in the TRNC? Does the bank offer good rates of interest and is the bank stable and trustworthy?

These questions and many more, can be established by our Branch and website sponsors creditrwest, who can be contacted by email at: info@creditwestbank.com or by telephone: +90 392 678 00000.