Banks loosen restrictions on US dollars abroad after foreign exchange resources improve following pound flotation

Hossam Mounir
3 Min Read

Banks operating in the local market have begun to ease restrictions set earlier on Egyptians’ use of US dollars abroad through cash and electronic payment cards.

Commercial state banks including the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), Banque Misr, and Banque du Cairo were the first to make this move, and were followed by other banks such as the Commercial International Bank (CIB), Bank of Alexandria, Societe Arabe Internationale de Banque (SAIB), and Misr Iran Development Bank (MIDB).

According to a senior banker, this move comes after the improvement of their foreign exchange resources following the decision to float the Egyptian pound on Thursday.

Statistics released on Saturday indicated that banks received an estimated $80m in liquidity on Thursday and Friday—eight-fold what banks used to receive before the flotation.

The NBE decided to raise the limits of the use of its credit cards abroad. The bank’s Classic card spending limit was changed to $1,000, the Gold card to $2,000 and the Platinum card to $4,000.

Banque Misr brought its Classic card spending limit from $1,000 to $2,500, the Gold from $2,000 to $4,000, and the Platinum from $4,000 to $8,000.

Banque du Caire decided to provide foreign exchange for its customers in amounts that reach $10,000 in order to cover education and treatment expenses abroad, with a requirement to provide the necessary documentation to prove the point of spending.

The bank sells about $1,000 in cash to its travelling customers and about $300 for non-bank customers, with a requirement to bring their passport, airline ticket, and visa.

The CIB also decided to restore its monthly cash withdrawal via White cards at EGP 750 and to limit spending to EGP 8000, after pausing withdrawal and purchases of that card earlier.

The bank also decided to increase the monthly withdrawal limits for a number of its cards to about EGP 1,750 and $2,000. This is besides raising purchases limits to about EGP 24,000 and $30,000.

MIDB provides its travelling customers with $1,000-1,500. The bank fixed the limits for the use of its Classic card abroad at $1,000 for purchases and $150 for cash withdrawal, Gold at $2,000 for purchases and $300 for cash withdrawal.

Bank of Alexandria increased the limits of the use of its Classic card to EGP 15,000 for purchase and withdrawal. It also raised the limits of the Gold cards and companies to about EGP 16,000 for withdrawal and EGP 75,000 for purchases.

Other banks are considering similar changes such as Emirates NBD, Arab Investment Bank (AIB), the Housing and Reconstruction Bank, Export Development Bank of Egypt (EDBE), United Bank, Industrial Development Bank, and the Industrial Development & Workers Bank of Egypt.

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