I am a Russian resident currently living on Cyprus. I should provide to local authorities a bank guarantee showing a reasonable amount of money.

I know about finances literally nothing, so I was quite naïve and just went to local bank and created an account. After it had been created I've been told that a non-resident on Cyprus can not just take some cash and put it to the account - all transactions must be cashless.

This was the first surprise. The second was that I can not just transfer money from Russia - I should inform Russian tax service about foreign account. The third surprise was that this actually can take weeks - I can not submit any form via internet, I should write a letter.

My question is: How can I transfer a small amount of money (~1000 Euro actually) to a bank account in Cyprus.

My first thought was paypal. But it looks like there are two issues which make this solution doubtful. First, there's no any card issued for my cyprus account - it will be issued after it will be money on the account. And I don't know whether it possible to attach a bank account to paypal, not a card. Second, as far as I understand, paypal temporarily takes 1$ for account verification, and I just have no a single idea how can I put quickly even a dollar to this account.

So I would really appreciate if someone more experienced will give me advice.

4 Answers 4


I can only imagine the regulatory difficulty you're going through, and for that I empathize.

First, bankers everywhere mostly do not know if a bank policy is due to regulation or internal rules. Other banks may be more flexible, but only the most reputable should be used.

Re Paypal, they first deposit 1 USD and then withdraw it, but things may be different in Cyprus. Also, Paypal now has debit cards, so if Paypal is permitted to issue cards in Russia then it could presumably be used in Cyprus. Again, local regulation notwithstanding. Paypal now has phone support at the very back of their site, so I suggest a call to them.

In countries that permit, Western Union can be used to wire money into an account from cash.

The Bitcoin route should be used as a last resort. You could wake up tomorrow losting 25% easy. The regulations are a distant second compared to this problem.

With all of the above methods, there will be varying delays from days to weeks.

  • "Wake up tomorrow" your exposure to bitcoin will be 1 hour tops. Is this conjecture from some headline/price chart or do you actually understand how this works?
    – CQM
    Mar 14, 2014 at 3:07
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    @CQM Actually, no, for ~100% confidence, it will take 2 hours minimum. Do you actually understand how this works? Do you know how long it takes to do anything in a previously second world country, like, uhm, wiring money from say, Russia aka Soviet Union, comrade? Have you ever seen a 24hr price of Bitcoin? coinmarketcap.com/btc_30.html Nailed it. youtube.com/watch?v=IDOqUzRO66o
    – user11865
    Mar 14, 2014 at 3:20
  • The problem with paypal is that they only allow limited withdrawals, especially for new/unverified accounts. Also, at least in the US, they're not regulated as a bank, and can really do whatever they want. I recently learned that the users' balances on Paypal in the US are not even held in trust... I think their EU branch has to follow stricter rules, but the OP is from Russia...
    – littleadv
    Mar 14, 2014 at 4:12
  • @quantycuenta how many two hour periods are within a 30 day chart? the bitcoin capital markets are not as fast moving as you suggest. also not all market participants require 6 confirmations
    – CQM
    Mar 14, 2014 at 4:31
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    @CQM This simply cannot be for someone in as tight a situation as the countries OP's describing. Sure, it's not a big deal for someone here with a grand to throw around like it's stripper tip money, but over there, the smallest tasks are mountains. Look at what OP has to do just to have a damn checking account! No, for someone who realisticly, yes absolutely reasonably, cannot even sacrifice 1 USD because of crushing regulation, even a 2% move is unacceptable. 0 conf trans for my on the edge money? Nah, pass. Cryptos need price stability and instantaneous confirmation first to be serious
    – user11865
    Mar 14, 2014 at 6:56

You can transfer the money from your bank in Russia to Cyprus by sending a Wire Transfer. You provide your account number and SWIFT code for the Cyprus account to your Russian bank and pay the associated fees on both end for it and it will be done. No need to use Bitcoin or anything too complicated. I believe you are overthinking this.

  • 1
    @gardian, actually I can not - and the reasons why exactly I can not are described in the question itself. Well, to be strict, I can, but it can take weeks.
    – shabunc
    Mar 13, 2014 at 18:37
  • @shabunc, I read that and I understand what you are saying with respect to time limitations; however, a SWIFT transfer does not take that long. In fact, they are pretty quick. I have worked for major banks, including international as a protocol developer. SWIFT transactions are often completed within 4-8 hours and post the account within 24-72 hours depending on the amount. The larger the amount, the longer it takes for legal reasons involving large transfers, but unless you are transferring millions, you will have it posted to your account by the next banking reconcile day - usually midnight. Mar 13, 2014 at 18:43
  • @shabunc SWIFT transfer takes hours. Writing a letter is the requirement of your Russian bank - just go to another one.
    – littleadv
    Mar 13, 2014 at 19:45
  • @littleadv unless I'm mistaken he is currently in Cyprus, I doubt he can open a new bank account in Russia from there.
    – o0'.
    Jul 7, 2014 at 13:07

Bitcoin can facilitate this, despite the risks associated with using bitcoin exchanges and the price volatility at any given time. The speed of bitcoin can limit your exposure to the bitcoin network to one hour.

Cyprus has a more advanced infrastructure than most countries to support bitcoin transactions, with Neo & Bee opening as a regulated bank/financial entity in Cyprus just two months ago, and ATM/Vending Machines existing for that asset.

Anyway, you acquire bitcoin from an individual locally (in exchange for cash) or an exchange that does not require the same level of reporting as a bank account in Cyprus or Russia. No matter how you acquire the bitcoin, you transfer it to the exchange, sell bitcoin on the exchange for your desired currency (USD, EURO, etc), you instruct the exchange to wire the EURO to your cyprus bank account using your cyprus account's SWIFT code. The end.

Depending on the combination of countries involved, the exchange may still encounter similar withdrawal limitations until certain regulatory requirements are resolved.

Also, I'm unsure of the attitude toward bitcoin related answers on this site, so I tried to add a disclaimer about bitcoin's risks at the top, but that doesn't make this answer incorrect.

  • so, basically, it is possible to transfer from bitcoin account to a bank account providing only SWIFT? Wow, it is so, it looks like a solution.
    – shabunc
    Mar 13, 2014 at 18:01
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    @shabunc you don't need Neo&Bee, that was just a reference to Cyprus' infrastructure. Unlike paypal, bitcoin exists outside of the banking system and cannot be limited by borders, capital controls or sanctions. So any bank (like Neo&Bee) providing bitcoin services is just attempting to offer a convenience. But you can jump in and out of the banking system at any place using bitcoin. Hard to explain briefly.
    – CQM
    Mar 13, 2014 at 19:23
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    @shabunc beware of people suggesting using criminal methods or shady instruments. You don't want to find yourself being a Russian citizen accused of money laundering in any foreign land. I'd suggest staying away of bitcoin or any other service with strong associations to organized crime.
    – littleadv
    Mar 13, 2014 at 19:44
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    @CQM your disregard to laws is astonishing. The fact that you use bitcoins means nothing with regards to your reporting or tax obligations. Why are you still trying to pursue your way to jail (or push someone else there)? Your scheme is a classic money laundering scheme, and being bitcoin such a hard thing to trace - it will actually help the Cypriot prosecutors to prove that shabunc is a criminal, when he is in fact not. In order to avoid money laundering charges you have to have a paper trail - exactly the thing you're suggesting not having. Why on Earth would you suggest this? He's Russian!
    – littleadv
    Mar 13, 2014 at 19:52
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    @CQM, while I respect your right to doubt, and while the transfers provided by exchanges are often legitimate, the fact remains that the instability in Bitcoin exchanges (ie MTGox) and the escalated misuse of it lends itself to extra scrutiny that is unnecessary if it can be avoided for a simple transaction. By all means cash has been abused for as long as there has been banking, but it has been a proven system that has methods in place, no need to reinvent the wheel for something simple like what the OP asked. Mar 14, 2014 at 17:22

If you are a Russian citizen a much easier and common solution would be a USD or EUR withdrawal from your Webmoney account to your Cyprus bank account. You will need to create a Webmoney account (www.webmoney.ru), get a primary certificate in your local Webmoney office in Russia (The list is available at the website), create WMZ (for USD) and WME (for EURO) accounts in Webmoney (done online). Then you can easily top up your Webmoney WMR (Rubles) account (created automatically) with Rubles, convert the sum into USD (According to the Webmoney rate, which is only slightly different from the official central bank rate) and then withdraw the money from your USD Webmoney account to your Cyprus bank account. The money will be transfered to your Cyprus bank account from UK Webmoney dealer. The transaction description would say that this sum is transfered according to the contract of sale of securities.

This method prevents any Russian regulatory authorities from seeing your transactions. And the best thig in Webmoney is that they have stable exchange rates and they use classic currencies such as USD, RUR, EUR, etc. Webmoney also has WMG accounts (Gold) and WMX accounts (Bitcoin). Non-Russian residents can also open a Webmoney accounts. You can get one even in Cyprus, by the way:)

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