Planning on taking a trip this summer and using your Egyptian debit card? Well you may be in for a change of plans, as Egypt has ordered banks to stop clients from using their Egyptian pound account debit cards abroad, in hopes of combating the nation’s foreign currency shortage.
Over the last five years, Egypt’s economy has dealt with two uprisings, two plane disasters, and a slew of damaging headlines to ensure tourists keep their distance. The new low in tourism and foreign investment brings with it a shortage of hard foreign currency, which the country depends on to purchase a variety of imports. With no sign of tourists returning, an official told Reuters that "We sent a letter to bank chiefs today to stop the use of debit cards outside the country. As for credit cards it is business as usual and each bank sets their own limit for their clients."
This will not affect debit cards for accounts in foreign currency and the official goes on to explains further in a letter sent to the banks requesting that they "Please ensure that debit cards, including pre-paid cards, issued in local currency by Egyptian banks are only used within the country."
According to one state-owned bank chief talking to Reuters, the new policy is to be implemented by central bank directives as of today. This may prove to be difficult as several banks have alleged requested more time to implement the new directive.
At this time there is no indication if this policy is intended to be temporary or permanent, however we will keep you updated as further news becomes available.