Egypt’s NBE introduces new debit card for US dollar accounts

Asmaa Mostafa , Thursday 1 Feb 2024

The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has launched a new debit card for customers with US dollar accounts, named Visa Platinum, to facilitate customers' overseas purchases, according to a statement released by the state-owned bank on Thursday.

National Bank of Egypt branch. Ahram Gate.
National Bank of Egypt branch. Ahram Gate.


The debit card aims to fulfil the diverse needs of customers who seek to conduct transactions in foreign currency, said Karim Soos, the CEO of Retail Banking at NBE.

The step, he said, aligns with the bank's broader strategy of offering a wide range of banking services and products while ensuring a seamless and user-friendly banking experience.

The limits for purchases and cash withdrawals using the new Visa Platinum card have not yet been disclosed.

Similarly, Banque Misr has recently issued a new Visa Platinum debit card for US dollar accounts with a monthly spending cap of $20,000.

The new cards provide a solution for customers who face difficulty conducting transactions in dollars after local banks suspended the usage of debit cards outside Egypt and limited credit card use abroad due to the country’s shortfall of hard currency.

These debit cards will not strain the bank's foreign liquidity since they are directly linked to customers' dollar accounts, Banking Expert Hani Abu Al-Futouh said earlier this week.

Abu Al-Futouh anticipated that the new cards would encourage customers to save in foreign currencies instead. 

Since 2022, Egyptian banks imposed restrictions on credit card spending in foreign currencies as per instructions made by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) in a bid to address the hard currency crunch.

On 9 October 2023, the local banks temporarily halted cash withdrawals and purchases made outside the country using debit cards.

On 17 October 2023, the CBE issued new guidelines to regulate the use of credit cards for foreign currency transactions amid concerns of misuse.

Moreover, in December 2023, several Egyptian banks suspended international transactions for newly issued credit cards for a maximum period of six months from the date of issuance.

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