Send Money To Egypt
Egypt continues to undergo major changes six years after President Hosni Mubarak was removed from office. The political situation continues to be fragile as the fight against radical elements continues. The journey towards restoring Egypt’s economic glory looks like a long and hard one.
In spite of all the political, social and financial turmoil, Egyptians continue to be proud and defiant. According to the World Bank’s 2013 figures, Egypt had a population of 82.06 million. The country’s official languages are Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic. Egypt is the country that links the north east of Africa to the Middle East. Tourism continues to be one of the major drivers of Egypt’s economy. Before the Arab Spring, the sector was responsible for 12 per cent of Egypt’s entire workforce.
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Egypt’s official currency is the Egyptian pound. One Egyptian pond is divided into 100 piastras. There are several denominations of this mainly paper currency. Egyptian currency is peculiar in two interesting ways; they are bilingual, with an English and an Arabic face. The English side shows Egyptian motifs of old while the Arabic side shows Egypt’s Islamic buildings.
One Egyptian pound is the equivalent of 0.055 US dollars and 0.045 British pounds. Currency exchange is done at official banks or authorised money exchange offices with all the common international currencies widely accepted. Cash machines are also available on Egypt especially in areas frequented by tourists.
Visitors to Egypt are advised to find small bills in sufficient quantities as change can be notoriously difficult to find. Have as many ten, five and one pound notes as possible. The one pound notes come handy when visiting public toilets.
Send Money with Bank Deposit
In Egypt’s current economic climate, businesses continue to suffer as hard currency becomes increasingly hard to access. There is also no long-term clarity when it comes to the rules that govern cash transfers.
Early last year, Egypt’s Central Bank removed dollar deposits limits that had been imposed on firms and households importing priority goods. The rules had been imposed in 2015. Businesses, local and foreign-owned that are operating in non-priority sectors continue to bear the brunt of ever-shifting restrictions in accessing dollars.
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Following the 2011 revolution, Egypt’s Central Bank imposed several restrictions on converting and transferring funds out of the country. Individuals could only transfer up to a maximum of 100,000 US dollars. In 2014, individuals who had reached that limit would be permitted a further 100,000 US dollars.
Although the restrictions don’t apply for legitimate businesses, they are required to provide extensive documentation. Foreign investors have complained that the lack of available foreign exchange results in delays that run into several months. Some have reported increasing arrears balances that continue to grow monthly.
Under Egyptian law, individuals and businesses are allowed to conduct the normal currency exchange transactions, including opening of letters of credit and accepting deposits. However, since the revolution, nothing is close to being normal.
In February 2015, the Central Bank set dollar deposit limits for companies and households at $10,000 per day and $50,000 per month in attempt to mop up the U.S. dollars in the black market. Two months later, the limits had been relaxed. All these directives were by verbal decree. While verbal decrees allow for flexibility, market participants prefer long-term clarity in the currency regime.
Money Transfer Regulations
As long as you have a bank account with an Egyptian bank, your bank will readily transfer money to an overseas account for you. Different banks charge different fees for this service. Different banks also have different policies towards international funds transfers and general foreign exchange. So you may be charged a fee by both the sending bank and the receiving bank.
In most Egyptian banks, you need to have a residence permit for at least six months to be eligible to open a bank account. The deposit minimum varies from bank to bank and in some cases between individual branches. If you can’t find other expats with Egyptian bank accounts, you may have to go to the banks and make the inquiries in person. If you can’t speak the local language, no problem. Bank staff speak quite decent English.
Banks are always closed on Fridays and Saturdays and most public holidays. They are also closed on most public holidays.