Egypt's central bank makes exemptions for limits on cash withdrawal overseas

Ahram Online , Sunday 25 Dec 2022

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has ordered banks to remove the recently-announced limits on overseas cash withdrawals in foreign currency for expats who need the cash for medical treatment or education.

Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). File/Reuters


The CBE ordered banks to remove maximum limits on credit and debit cards for customers who require foreign cash overseas for medical treatment or education purposes after they submit documents proving their claim, the state’s news agency MENA quoted a banking source as saying.

The CBE also ordered banks to remove limits on bank cards for those who traveled before the announcement of the latest restrictions on 22 December, the source added.

The CBE also affirmed that the latest restrictions do not include customers whose accounts are in foreign currency or cardholders who make purchases using their foreign currency accounts, the source affirmed.

On Thursday, the CBE announced new restrictions on foreign currency withdrawal overseas as the country struggles with a shortage of hard currency. A black market where the US dollar is traded at over EGP 30, compared to the official exchange rate of EGP 24.7, has flourished.   

According to a circular issued on Thursday, the CBE said it has found that bank cards are being used abroad to collect hard currency even though their owners are in Egypt.

The CBE also said that clients in Egypt are exchanging local currency for US dollars despite having no intention of travelling abroad.

On Thursday, banks sent mobile messages to their clients notifying them of the limits on purchases while abroad. These limits vary depending on the type of card.

The state-owned National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has reportedly reduced daily and monthly withdrawal limits in foreign currency overseas to less than a quarter of its previous limits.

Also on Thursday, the NBE and state-owned Banque Misr raised their fees for foreign cash withdrawals by debit and credit cards overseas to 10 percent instead of the previous 3 percent.

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