Transaction Rejected: New ATM Withdrawal Regulations Egyptians Traveling Abroad Need to Know About
Being stuck in a foreign country and not being able to take money out is a nightmare many of us have had. With the Central Bank of Egypt, however, trying to preserve its declining reserves of foreign currency, new bank regulations on foreign currency ATM withdrawals at both home and abroad may make these nightmares into reality if you’re not prepared. In the last month, Egyptian banks have been changing the amount you’re allowed to take out in foreign currencies in Egypt itself, from ATMs abroad, and how much you can spend with your card when you’re out of the country. If you’re traveling abroad soon, we made a little guide to get you up to date with the new regulations and to give you a few tips about how to avoid running out of money abroad.
How Much Money Can I Take Out of an ATM Abroad?
After speaking to several banks on the phone to double check, it seems that unlike reported around a month ago, the daily withdrawal limit for most banks is now 500 US dollars or equivalent. However, other banks like HSBC have a much larger cap of 3000 to 1000 US dollars depending on your type of card. Making things even more complicated, the limit on ATM withdrawals abroad also changes for some banks depending on the type of bank card and account you have. The rules and regulations can vary between banks, what type of card you have, and they can always change at a moment’s notice, so make sure to check with your bank before you fly off so you know you’re prepared. But be warned that your withdrawal limit may not be as generous as it used to be.
TOP TIP: Some banks have separate limits for ATMs and Point of Service (POS) withdrawals, so you can always rely on POS withdrawals if you’ve already maxed out your ATM limit. A POS withdrawal, often known as ‘cashback’, is when you withdraw money from a shop and pay with your card as if you were purchasing something there. Not all shops offer cashback, but if you ask enough you’re sure to find one sooner than later.
How Much Money Can I Spend with My Card Abroad?
Like ATM withdrawals, this varies wildly from bank to bank, with Banque Misr offering a generous 9000 USD per month for some of its cards while FAB Misr only allows a maximum of 500 USD to be spent per month for its classic card. So as with all aspects of this, it is essential that you check what the rules and regulations are for your bank and type of card before you fly off on holiday.
TOP TIP: All banks have different regulations and offer different cards with different rates. If you travel a lot and think that your bank’s new limits are going to cause you some difficulties, you can always see if your bank offers another type of card with more generous limits. Or failing that, you can always switch banks if your current bank doesn’t offer what you’re looking for.
How Much Foreign Currency Can I Fly out of Egypt With?
The tried and tested way of heading to the bank or bureau de change and stacking up on dollars is a great way of avoiding having any issues with your bank when you’re abroad. However, it also comes with limitations as you’re only legally allowed to leave Egypt with a certain amount of US dollars or equivalent. As of the time of writing, when you fly out of Egypt you’re allowed to carry with you a total of 10,000 US dollars or equivalent.
TOP TIP: Make sure to have all your money with you on the plane and not in the hold luggage. Also, when you check into a hotel make sure to hide your money in different places, so if some does get stolen you still have some to rely on.
How Much Foreign Currency can I Take Out of My Bank Here in Egypt?
Many banks claim not to have many limits on how much US dollars you can withdraw from the branch; however, this all depends on how many dollars the branch actually has. From personal experience with a bank that will remain unnamed, despite claims of letting me freely take out dollars, I could not find any branch with dollars. It is worth checking out your bank’s regulations in advance regardless, so you have enough time to withdraw the number of dollars you need in the amounts it lets you per month.
TOP TIP: If you’re having a problem trying to find a bank branch with foreign currencies that you can withdraw, you can always head to a currency exchange or bureau de change. However, currency exchanges and bureau de changes do often run out of foreign currencies, especially dollars, so be sure to ring up the day before to see if they will have dollars and arrive as early as you can the following day.
What Else Can I Do to Not Get Caught Out Abroad with No Money?
As mentioned again and again throughout this article, the most important piece of advice to avoid running out of money abroad: call up or check your bank’s website for their most recent rules and regulations. On top of this, banks have different regulations and limits for different cards, so be sure to find out what the withdrawal and spending limits are for your particular account and card.
Once you know what your limits are, one good way to avoid any complications is to spread out your payments so you don’t max out any of your limits. For example, if your bank doesn’t let you take out much money abroad, but is pretty relaxed about you paying for everything with your card, try to spend everything you can on a card. Likewise, if your bank lets you do vice versa, do vice versa.
Another useful tip is that online payments to foreign companies or persons are usually counted as a separate allowance by banks. Paying for your hotel or Airbnb online is a great way to not use up your ATM withdrawals or foreign purchase limits.