Using banks in East Crete

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Tans
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 9:29 am
Location: Durham uk / Neapoli Crete

Using banks in East Crete

Postby Tans » Sat May 12, 2007 9:11 pm

After looking at information on banks I find little diference between them and will need to open a bank account when in Crete in 2 weeks time. So looking for practical information on individual branches does a bank have one or several queues which one shoild I be in as could end up being shown queue for currency exchange, does a small branch have no one who understands english so would a larger branch be more suitable. Nearest bank to use would be in Neapoli bit any where from Malia to Aghios Nicholas would do.

Tans :roll:

filippos
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:38 pm
Location: Kalyves
Contact:

Postby filippos » Sat May 12, 2007 9:46 pm

In Hania we use Bank of Cyprus and have been very pleased with the service.

There's a list of branches (and ATMs) here:

http://www.bankofcyprus.gr/locations.asp?lCity=183&lCountry=0

There are pros and cons with all the banks. BoC has a good website with an English language version. In the branch we use there's rarely a queue and usually 3 - 5 teller positions working; you don't need to take a ticket as at National Bank or Tesco Deli counter; all the banking staff speak good English and so do most of the "back room" staff for things like mortgages, insurance etc.; they have Internet banking but only in Greek ("The English version will be ready in a few weeks" we were told at Christmas .... 2005 - still waiting so I've learned to do it in Greek, at least, to check balances and do inter-account transfers (fairly easy once you know that "logariasmos" is "account" as well as "bill").

Don't even thinking about getting a cheque book. They are available but very few shops will take them and people generally don't trust them. We have a savings account for which Debit/ATM cards were issued instantly (we were asked to wait for an hour before using them to be sure they were activated on the system) and a Sterling account into which our state pensions are paid (a "paper" transaction not an electronic one. The UK Pensions Service don't do direct electronic transfers to Greece) and an occasional cheque/money order (like Winter Heating Allowance).

I was given a Visa Credit Card as a "reward" for arranging a loan from the bank. The loan itself was agreed in principle within 30 minutes of walking into the bank intending to make an appointment to discuss the possibility.

Apart from that I've only ever had an account with National Bank - set up by our lawyer when we bought the house in '98 - which we closed immediately we came here permanently; waiting time in the queues could be a couple of hours. At least with the ticket system you could go shopping and come back.

filippos.

Kilkis
Posts: 8825
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Postby Kilkis » Sat May 12, 2007 11:19 pm

It's certainly worth deciding which ATM will be most convenient and then joining that bank since you get charged if you use the ATM of another bank. If you need pink slips you also have to get them from the branch where your account is. You cannot transfer accounts in Greece.

We've used Alpha bank and found them very good. We chose it because it has an excellent web banking site completely in English. It is also the biggest independent bank in Greece. We are about to open an account with the Cooperative bank of Chania since they have a branch in our village. Generally they and Pankritia have most branches in Crete but not elsewhere in Greece. The two Alpha banks in Chania are not as convenient now we have moved to Crete.

We previously used the National Bank of Greece and found them terrible. Huge queues.

Warwick

Mister P
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 5:52 pm
Location: Cheshire & Tsivaras

Postby Mister P » Sat May 12, 2007 11:32 pm

We use the Agricultural Bank, not sure how widespread they are but they serve our needs nicely. We were issued with ATM cards immediately after opening our account. The staff have seemed friendly, efficient and speak good english. They have dealt with everything we have thrown at them from international transfers, currency convertions, collections of pink slips etc. without batting an eyelid!

Although there has been the odd queue, generally we have not had to wait more than around 5 mins to get to the counter. Good luck with your decision making.

Martin.

Kikh
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:39 pm
Location: Galatas, Chania

Curious

Postby Kikh » Sat May 12, 2007 11:43 pm

Warwick, I notice that you recommend Alpha Bank and say that their web banking is in English so I must ask, has that changed since last summer? I opened an account late September last year and had "some" trouble making it work on my PC only to find that my personal pages where all written in Greek :oops:

Thought about changing to National Bank of Greece when I'm back, hence they co-operate with my Swedish bank and I might need to transfer money to cover for a loan. The less fuzz the better start I get...

Kickie
Kickie

filippos
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Location: Kalyves
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Postby filippos » Sun May 13, 2007 12:19 am

"... National Bank of Greece when I'm back, hence they co-operate with my Swedish bank and I might need to transfer money ..."

I would have thought that your Swedish bank would be able to deal with any recognised bank in Crete. We have transferred money from different banks in the UK to both the National Bank and Bank of Cyprus. Bank of Cyprus issue our "pink slips" automatically and they are sent directly to our accountant when he does our tax return.

On a more general note I think the charge for using the ATM of a bank other than your own is about €1.85. We withdraw cash for several weeks at a time so the charge (approx. 0.3% of €500) is less significant than using the ATM frequently for smaller amounts.

Filippos.

Kikh
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:39 pm
Location: Galatas, Chania

Postby Kikh » Sun May 13, 2007 8:59 am

Thank you for replying Filippos!

The problem I've encountered so far was when I tried transferring money from Greece to Sweden, the opposite has never been a problem. It was simply impossible, according to Bank of Cyprus, although I had all the info required available. My idea is that it will be easier to deal with a bank that actually have heard of mine.

My main reason for choosing Alpha was/is that they have a branch and ATM in the village next to mine and that they had web banking in English...not...
The web banking is a major issue now and any bank that can solve it will have a loyal new customer :)
Kickie

Kilkis
Posts: 8825
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Curious

Postby Kilkis » Sun May 13, 2007 9:35 am

Kikh wrote:Warwick, I notice that you recommend Alpha Bank and say that their web banking is in English so I must ask, has that changed since last summer? I opened an account late September last year and had "some" trouble making it work on my PC only to find that my personal pages where all written in Greek :oops:

Thought about changing to National Bank of Greece when I'm back, hence they co-operate with my Swedish bank and I might need to transfer money to cover for a loan. The less fuzz the better start I get...

Kickie


I'm not sure why you are having trouble with the Alpha bank web site? I have been using it for several years now and it has always been available in English. As far as I am aware it was the first bank in Greece to have its banking pages in English, long before the National Bank. Many banks still don't have this. Eurobank, for example, have been promising it for about four years but their site still says "Our online services are currently available in Greek only. "

I think I see your problem. I start on the English home page, http://www.alpha.gr/page/default.asp?la=2 and then click on "Alpha Web banking for individuals". This gives me an English log on screen. If your log on screen is in Greek look at the top right hand corner and there is a link to change it to English. If I have the English log on screen, when I enter my ID number and password it gives me my web banking site all in English. If, however, I change the log on screen to Greek, when I enter my ID and password it gives me the banking site in Greek. Quite clever really. Try changing the log on page to English and see if that works for you. If yours doesn't do this I would discuss it with the person in your branch who deals with internet banking or phone Alpha bank customer services.

Hope this helps.

Warwick

Kikh
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:39 pm
Location: Galatas, Chania

Postby Kikh » Sun May 13, 2007 9:54 am

Try changing the log on page to English and see if that works for you. If yours doesn't do this I would discuss it with the person in your branch who deals with internet banking or phone Alpha bank customer services.
Hope this helps. Warwick


:oops: How simple things can be when they are explained by a good teacher. Of course it worked!

I think I was too annoyed with my bank after failing both using my card and connecting to my personal pages. All help I had was over the phone with a man who wasn't easy to understand. I gave up trying and haven't even looked at the pages since.

Thank you once again!
Kickie


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