ُEgypt’s Commercial International Bank (CIB) has introduced new limits on Egyptians' use of debit and credit cards abroad, effective Monday, according to the private lender’s official website.
This is the second time the country’s largest private bank has tightened withdrawal and purchase limits outside the country in 15 days.
In June, the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) asked local banks to control and regulate the use of debit cards abroad in order to stop their use for illegal currency trading purposes.
Egypt, which relies heavily on imports, mostly food, has been suffering an acute shortage of US dollars in the wake of the 2011 uprising followed by political and security unrest that discouraged tourists and foreign investors, two major sources of hard currency.
The Arab nation’s foreign reserves more than halved since 2011 to reach $15.5 billion in July, with the government currently seeking a $12 billion fund facility from the International Monetary Fund to support the ailing economy.
Customers of CIB with the lowest credit card category (White) will have a cash withdrawal limits of $50 and a $100 monthly purchase limit, down from $250 and $2,500 respectively.
Classic credit card holders will have a limit of $100 cash withdrawal and $1,000 monthly purchase, down from $250 and $2,500 respectively.
However, owners of the highest credit card category (Platinum, Platinum EgyptAir, and Corporate) will have a cash withdrawal limit of $1,000 and a $7,500 monthly purchase limit, down from $1,500 and $12,000 respectively.
Debit card holders will have limits as follows: $100 cash withdrawal and $200 monthly purchases for the Cassic card; $200 in withdrawals and $500 in purchases for Titanium cards; and $300 in withdrawals and $1,000 in purchases for the Platinum card.
The new debit card limits are down from $250 in withdrawals and $750 in purchase for the Classic card, $500 in withdrawals and $1,000 in purchases for the Titanium card; and $500 in withdrawals and $2,000 in purchase for the Platinum card.
The CIB's Travel Choice card and the International Student Identification Card (ISIC) will have a maximum of $50 per month for the aggregate of purchase and cash withdrawals, down from $300 a month.
Meanwhile, customers of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the largest public lender, still have the same limits on both debit and credit cards, according to the bank’s data.
Al-Ahli debit card holders have the equivalent of EGP 1000 ($112) as a maximum in ATM withdrawals per day and the equivalent of EGP 5,000 ($563) as the maximum ATM withdrawal a month.
Meanwhile, maximum debit card purchases per day are set at the equivalent of EGP 5,000 ($563) and the equivalent of EGP 10,000 ($1126) per month.
For credit cards, NBE customers with a Classic card have a purchase maximum of EGP 15,000 ($1,689) on both a daily and monthly basis and maximum ATM withdrawals of EGP 1600 ($180) a day and EGP 9,800 ($1,103) a month.
Gold credit card holders have maximum purchase capacity of EGP 30,000 ($3,378) per month and EGP 9,800 ($1,103) ATM withdrawasl per month.
Platinum credit card holders have a maximum cash withdrawal of EGP 16,000 ($1,801) per month and a maximum of EGP 100,000 ($11,260) for purchases a month.