CBE eases restrictions on credit cards usage outside Egypt

Doaa A.Moneim , Thursday 26 Oct 2023

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has eased the restrictions on credit card usage abroad, allowing clients to use their cards without limits on hard currency withdrawals while being abroad.

File photo people walk past the Egyptian Central Bank in downtown Cairo. AFP


Clients who are willing to use their credit cards outside Egypt are only required to call the customer service of the issuing bank or visit one of the branches without the need to submit any documents.

Yet, they are later required to apply to the issuing bank within 90 days of opening these limits to prove that the card was used by them (not by someone else) during their travel abroad through the exit and entry stamps on their passport or by sending evidence of their continued presence abroad if the 90-day period has passed.

The measure came in response to the client’s complaints of the difficulties they face in connecting with their banks to open the limits set by the government on hard currency withdrawals before traveling, the CBE explained.

"Clients who do not comply with these instructions will be listed in the I-score list and will be deprived of issuing credit cards and of the banking services benefits in the future", the CBE warned.

In a bid to hedge against the severe hard currency shortage in the local market, on 17 October the CBE set restrictions to limit credit card usage for transactions in foreign currencies abroad amid concerns of misuse.

Accordingly, the CBE banned the use of debit cards abroad or in making hard currency transactions.

The CBE set later in October a limit of $250 max per month for all purchases made in hard currency using the credit card abroad. Yet, clients were required to activate their cards for this max before traveling.

The decision was made as the CBE has noticed recently a misuse of credit cards by withdrawing cash from abroad despite not traveling.

It also came as a result of the severe hard currency shortage in Egypt, the issue that recently pushed two major global credit rating agencies to downgrade Egypt’s sovereign long-term credit rating, in addition to the government’s inability to fulfill its commitments to the International Monetary Fund for the $3 billion loan deal.

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