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What Money Do They Use in Egypt

What Money Do They Use in Egypt? A Guide to Egyptian Currency

Planning a trip to Egypt? We’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Egyptian pound and tips on how to get the best rate at currency exchange. Ready to make your trip as smooth as possible? Let’s get into it!

Key Takeaways

  • Egyptian Pound: The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP), often abbreviated as LE (Livre Égyptienne). It’s divided into 100 piastres, with banknotes and coins in various denominations.
  • Currency Exchange: Local banks and currency exchange shops offer the best rates. Avoid airport exchanges and always carry your passport when exchanging money.
  • Payment Methods: Cash is widely used in Egypt, especially for small transactions. Credit and debit cards are accepted in big hotels, restaurants, and shops in major cities, but always have a backup payment method.
What Money Do They Use in Egypt

What Money Do They Use in Egypt?

The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP), often abbreviated as LE (Livre Égyptienne). The symbol for the Egyptian pound is E£. One Egyptian pound is divided into 100 piastres. You’ll find Egyptian banknotes in denominations of 200 LE, 100 LE, 50 LE, 20 LE, 10 LE, and 5 LE. Coins come in 1 LE, 50 piastres, and 25 piastres. Knowing these denominations will help you manage your money and avoid confusion during transactions.

Where to Exchange Currency in Egypt

To get the best value for your money, it’s important to know where and how to exchange currency. Currency exchange shops and local banks offer the best rates and are readily available in major cities and tourist areas. It’s advisable to avoid airport exchanges as they typically offer less favourable rates. Always carry your passport when exchanging money.

Checking exchange rates regularly can help you get the best deal, as rates fluctuate daily. While foreign currency like Euros, US dollars, and British pounds are widely accepted in many tourist areas, converting to Egyptian pounds can stretch your money further, especially for small purchases.

What Money Do They Use in Egypt

Why Cash is Important in Egypt

Cash remains king in Egypt, particularly for smaller transactions and in local markets. Always have some Egyptian pounds on hand for small purchases, tips, and situations where card payments are not accepted. Small denominations like 1 LE, 5 LE, 10 LE, 20 LE, and 50 LE are crucial for everyday transactions and can be obtained from local shops, street vendors, or taxi drivers.

For larger purchases, it might be worth asking if the seller will accept US dollars or Euros at a favourable rate. Just be sure to know the current exchange rate to avoid being short-changed.

Using Credit and Debit Cards in Egypt

While credit and debit cards offer convenience, their acceptance can vary. Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted in big hotels, restaurants, and shops in major cities. However, many smaller shops and local businesses prefer cash. American Express and less common cards may not be as widely accepted, so always have a backup payment method.

Notify your bank of your travel plans to avoid your card being blocked for suspicious activity. Also, consider adjusting your daily withdrawal limit if needed. Be aware that using cards abroad can incur fees, and many merchants pass the bank processing fee (around 3%) onto the customer.

egyptian pound egyptian currency

Using ATMs and Contactless Payments in Egypt

Contactless payments such as Google Pay and Apple Pay are not as widely accepted in Egypt. While these options are becoming more common, they are not universally accepted, so always have an alternative payment method.

ATMs are available in major cities, hotels, and outside banks. Using ATMs to withdraw money from your debit card can be convenient, but be mindful of daily withdrawal limits. ATMs often have transaction limits, so you might need to make multiple transactions to withdraw the desired amount. In case of an emergency or if the ATM is not working, you can withdraw money directly from a bank cashier with your card and passport.

How to Avoid Currency Exchange Fees

To minimise currency exchange fees, use local banks and official currency exchange shops, which typically offer better rates than airports or hotels. Avoid unnecessary fees by checking if your card provider charges foreign transaction fees and try to use a card with low or no fees. Using a currency converter app can help you stay updated on current rates and calculate conversions accurately. Exchanging currency at local banks and official exchange shops is crucial to avoid unnecessary fees.

what money do they use in egypt

Tips for UK Tourists in Egypt

For a smooth financial experience during your trip, carry a combination of Egyptian pounds for small transactions and a debit card for larger payments. Keep some British pounds or other major currencies as a backup. This can be handy in case of emergencies.

Avoid tipping with foreign coins, as they cannot be exchanged and are practically worthless. Always tip in Egyptian pounds. When paying for accommodation, hotels and tour operators may prefer payment in foreign currency (such as US dollars, Euros, or British pounds). Paying in the quoted currency can help you avoid unfavourable exchange rates.

Final Word

We hope this guide has helped you understand the currency of Egypt and how to manage your money effectively. By following these tips and being prepared, you can ensure that you get the best deal on your exchange rates and make the most of your trip to Egypt. 

what money do they use in egypt

FAQs

What is the official currency of Egypt?

The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP), often abbreviated as LE (Livre Égyptienne). One Egyptian pound is divided into 100 piastres.

Where can I exchange currency in Egypt?

You can exchange money at currency exchange shops, banks, and some big hotels in major cities. These places offer the best currency exchange rates. Avoid exchanging money at airports due to higher fees.

Do I need to carry cash in Egypt?

Yes, cash is essential in Egypt, especially for smaller transactions and in local markets. Carry a mix of Egyptian pounds and small denominations to ensure smooth transactions.

Are credit and debit cards widely accepted in Egypt?

Credit and debit cards like Visa and Mastercard are accepted in major hotels, restaurants, and shops in big cities. However, cash is preferred in smaller shops and local businesses.

Can I use contactless payments in Egypt?

Contactless payments such as Google Pay and Apple Pay are not widely accepted in Egypt. Always have an alternative payment method, like cash or a debit card.

How can I avoid currency exchange fees in Egypt?

To avoid currency exchange fees, use local banks and official currency exchange shops for the best rates. Check if your card provider charges foreign transaction fees and use a card with low or no fees.

Is it better to exchange money before traveling to Egypt?

It’s usually better to exchange a small amount before you travel for immediate expenses and exchange the rest in Egypt to get a better rate without currency exchange fees.

What denominations of Egyptian currency should I carry?

Carry a mix of denominations including 1 LE, 5 LE, 10 LE, 20 LE, and 50 LE for everyday transactions. Having small change is crucial for local purchases and tips.

How do I handle tipping in Egypt?

Always tip in Egyptian pounds. Avoid tipping with foreign coins, as they cannot be exchanged and are practically worthless to locals.

Are there ATMs available in Egypt?

Yes, ATMs are available in major cities, hotels, and outside banks. They are a convenient way to withdraw Egyptian pounds using your debit card.

What should I do if my card doesn’t work in Egypt?

If your card doesn’t work, you can withdraw money directly from a bank cashier with your card and passport. Always notify your bank about your travel plans to avoid your card being blocked.

Can I get small change easily in Egypt?

Getting small change can be a challenge. You can obtain it from local shops, street vendors, or even taxi drivers. Small denominations are essential for daily transactions.

What are the most accepted foreign currencies in Egypt?

Euros, US dollars, and British pounds are the most accepted foreign currencies in Egypt, especially in tourist areas and big hotels.

Is it safe to carry large amounts of cash in Egypt?

While it’s generally safe, it’s advisable to carry only what you need for the day and use ATMs as needed. Keep the rest of your money secured in a hotel safe or a secure place.

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