Travel agents with clients travelling to Cyprus over the next few days should consider advising them to take cash as well as credit and debit cards, due to current uncertainty over electronic cash withdrawals.
Cyprus will be voting later today (Tuesday 19th March) whether to accept the rescue deal for its banking sector offered by the EU and IMF, which includes a ‘once off’ €10 billion levy on savings. This would currently be 6.75% for bank savings under €100,000 and 9.9% for savings over €100,000 – but the Cyprus Government (which postponed the vote scheduled for Monday) is negotiating to reduce the rate for low savers and increase the rate for high savers.
The levy would not take effect until tomorrow (Wednesday 20th March) but action was taken over the weekend to control electronic money transfers. If the deal is defeated in today’s vote, the banks could be closed tomorrow in order to avoid mass withdrawals.