BY ELMIRA ADAMYAN
In summer, Armenia becomes the meeting point for Armenians from all over the world. What they experience during their stay shapes their perception of “Hayrenik.” Having a reliable banking support in Armenia can be a dealmaker or a deal breaker for tourists during their visit. Who wants to lose money with every transaction or carry cash around while travelling?
There are now 21 major banks in Armenia, but which one do you go to? Many Diaspora Armenians currently go to Ameriabank. There are simple yet profound reasons for that, such as the bank’s outstanding cards service with a 24/7 contact center, branches across the country and a branch in Yerevan that’s open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. The bank’s recognition by reputable financial institutions year after year and its impressive advisory board also are instrumental for Diaspora Armenians looking for western style reliable banking support.
In this interview Hrachya Malkhasyan, Ameriabank’s Branch Coordination Manager, responds to questions that many ask as they get ready for their trip to Armenia.
As a tourist, can I open an account in an Armenian bank? How safe is my money?
The account opening in Armenia’s Ameriabank for tourists can be done very easily with the use of a passport only. Tourists have access to accounts in Ameriabank via Internet Banking. To ensure the highest level of security for its clients, the Bank follows security means used by foreign banks. The data transferred are encoded via SSL protocols. Digipass tokens developed by VASCO Data Security are applied to sign transaction documents and identify the clients.
What are the benefits of having an Armenian banking card? Where else can this card be used for?
Ameriabank cards can be used in Armenia or abroad. Ameriabank offers a wide range of cards from VISA and MasterCard payment systems which can be of crucial when travelling around the globe. Ameriabank cards can help save money on transaction fees and currency conversion rates. The accounts have 24/7 service system and can be managed via Ameriabank Online banking, enabling the clients comfort and reliability of making online payments and non-cash transactions globally. The large network of retailers will enable the client make purchases with discounts available for Ameriabank cardholders only.
Provided I need cash urgently, how accessible is my money?
A large number of ATMS and branches across the country make dealing with money much easier. Ameriabank clients can easily make encashment at 98 ATMs across the country. There are 73 ATMs in Yerevan and 25 outside the capital.
We work with many tourists from the Diaspora, as they like having western style banking support as they explore Armenia. We have ATMs in Yerevan, Dilijan, Tatev, Tsaghkadzor, Jermuk and Artsakh among others. The bank has 10 branches in Armenia and Artsakh and a head office in the very heart of Yerevan. The tellers are fluent in English and have a special program for Diaspora visitors.
In the West, banking is made easy with the use of a bank’s app on smart phones. Is that an option in Armenia?
Ameriabank is the first Armenian bank to have an application in Apple Store. Once you download the Ameriabank app, you are immediately connected to currency exchange rates, the locations of the bank’s branches, ATMs and the news. The Ameriabank app also has an interactive map. So, when in Armenia, your Ameriabank app on your phone can be your guide to cash and information.
How credible and stable is Ameriabank itself?
Ameriabank has an impeccable reputation and a proven track record of success through its multiple awards (“Bank of the Year 2010, 2013” by the Banker, the Financial Times), world-class leadership (Robert Von Rekowsky, Ruben Vardanian, Noubar Afeyan and others on board) and continuous growth. Ameriabank remains the absolute leader of the Armenian banking system by assets, liabilities and liabilities to clients according to 2014 quarter 1 results. The bank’s net profit as of March 31, 2014 was more than 1.4 billion AMD (16% of the total profit of Armenia’s banking system).
When in Armenia, Visit Ameria.