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Banque Misr Launches Debit Card for US Dollar Transactions

January 31, 2024
Image Credit: LSE Egypt

Egyptian state-owned bank, Banque Misr, released a new debit card that allows US dollar transactions up to USD 20,000 (EGP 618,058) per month, according to an Ahram Online report published on 30 January.

The Visa Platinum card, which also works domestically, allows for a daily limit of USD 1,000 (EGP 30,902) and is valid up to five years after its issuance.

To obtain the card, customers must pay an issuance fee of USD 20 (EGP 618) and an annual fee of USD 10 (EGP 308), along with a minimum deposit of USD 100 (EGP 3,089)

Using the card in a currency other than the US Dollar will also incur a 10 percent currency “management commission” fee, the report reads.

The card intends to target locals and foreigners who are looking to expand their US Dollar transaction limit in light of recent restrictions by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

Shortly after the outbreak of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Egyptian banks began implementing restrictions on credit card spending in foreign currencies. This was to address concerns about the country’s depleting foreign currency reserves.

On 9 October 2023, the CBE ordered banks to halt cash withdrawals and foreign purchases using debit cards. These measures aimed to alleviate pressure on foreign currency reserves and prevent debit card exploitations abroad from black market sellers, who would withdraw foreign currencies abroad to sell in Egypt.

In addition, credit card spending limits were tightened for international transactions, and once more on 11 January to as little as USD 50 (1,544) per month for certain accounts.

The black market currently values the US dollar at above EGP 70, while the country’s official exchange rate remains near EGP 31 per dollar.

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