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Banque Misr Suspends Debit and Credit Cards Abroad

As exchange rates skyrocket in an inflated black market, Egypt's second largest public bank requires travel documents to use cards abroad.

Days after the country’s largest private bank, CIB, tightened limits on credit and debit card usage abroad, Banque Misr – Egypt’s second-largest public lender -  has now "conditionally" suspended credit and debit cards abroad, unless customers who are travelling provide the bank with travel tickets and visas prior to the trip.

The new regulation, issued on Monday, aims to tackle the “misuse” of cards, said Banque Misr's CEO Mohamed Eletreby, as he added that, in the past two weeks, $10 million were withdrawn using debit and credit cards.

In an interview with Egyptian TV host Lamees El-Hadidi, Egypt's Central Bank Deputy Governor Gamal Negm cited the case of a man who was using 320 credit cards to buy US dollars abroad and sell them on the black market in Egypt at inflated rates.

The bank limits dollar withdrawal for classic credit cards to $100 per month, and $1,000 for purchases, although the limit increases to $2,000 for gold credit card holders. In the case of debit cards, the public lender sets a limit of $100 for cash withdrawals per month, and purchases at $500 per month.

The new regulations also dictate that credit cards can only be issued six months after the customer creates a deposit account at the bank.