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Opening Bank Account

Although there are numerous bank branches in major cities, many low-income Egyptians will never open a bank account in their lifetimes. As a foreigner, you may find it difficult to open a bank account in Egypt, though it is certainly possible.

Most banks require that you have residence valid for at least six months before you open an account, and also require a minimum deposit of several thousand Egyptian pounds. The policies may vary from bank to bank and even between individual branches – the only way to be 100% sure of where you can open an account is to hit the pavement and make inquiries in person. If you know other expatriates who have bank accounts, ask them for advice on branches that are receptive to foreigners.

The good news is that Egyptian bank staff usually speak decent English. You may find Egyptian banks a bit different than what you are used to in your home country: most branches assign you a customer service number, at which point you will take a seat in a waiting area until your number is called. At that point you may proceed to a teller window for service. The wait time varies depending on branch location, time of day and the date.

Try and avoid trips to the bank just prior to vacation days – you’ll find the waiting area crowded with people hoping to make withdrawals before the branch shuts for the holiday.

Standard hours for Egyptian banks are 9 am to 2 pm, though you may find some branches focused on retail services (such as individual savings and current accounts) that remain open until 5 pm. You'll find that both savings and current accounts are available from Egyptian banks. Major credit card companies such as MasterCard and Visa also operate in Egypt.

Major Egyptian banks offering retail services include Commercial International Bank (CIB), National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB), Credit Agricole Egypt (CAE). HSBC also operates branches in major cities such as Cairo and Alexandria.





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