What Type of Credit Cards are Acceptable in Egypt?

By Contributing Writer

  • Overview

    What Type of Credit Cards are Acceptable in Egypt?
    Credit cards are fast becoming a way of life for international travelers. Using a credit card is generally safer than carrying cash and can prevent confusion about local exchange rates and currencies. Unfortunately, credit cards are not widely accepted in all international destinations, including Egypt. Major credit cards are accepted in large hotels and tourist shopping areas in Egypt, but you will have to rely on cash for the majority of your purchases.
  • Major Credit Cards

    The most commonly accepted credit cards in Egypt are Visa and Mastercard, according to "Frommer's Egypt" travel guide. Visitors to Egypt may be able to use American Express in a few tourist locations, but it is less widely accepted than Visa or Mastercard. Diner's Club is not commonly accepted in Egypt. Most locations that accept credit cards will prominently display a sign indicating the cards they accept.
  • Restrictions

    Credit cards are usually accepted in the large hotels and upscale restaurants, but generally you can expect to pay cash during your trip to Egypt. Except for the fancier tourist spots, the vast majority of stores and restaurants are cash-only. You will have the most luck using your credit card in large cities such as Cairo, but expect to pay with cash if you travel off the beaten path or to a smaller city in Egypt.

  • Fees

    Check with the merchant to see if there are any fees associated with using your credit card. The vast majority of stores and restaurants that accept credit cards in Egypt will tack on an additional fee of three to five percent regardless of the type of card. In addition, your bank may charge you a foreign transaction fee for using your credit card overseas, according to CreditCards.com. The fee varies based on your bank, but it ranges from one to three percent for most foreign transactions. This is in addition to any fees charged by the merchant, so using your credit card in Egypt can be an expensive proposition.
  • ATMs

    ATMs are becoming more available in large cities in Egypt, especially in tourist areas and in major hotels in Cairo. ATMs dispense money in Egyptian pounds. According to "Frommer's Egypt" travel guide, Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards are widely accepted at Egyptian ATMs. Look for ATMs with the Cirrus or PLUS logos. Also, check with your bank before leaving to see if you will be charged heftier ATM fees to withdraw cash at an international ATM. Some banks can charge up to $5 per withdrawal for using an ATM outside the United States. If you really want to plan ahead, search the Visa or Mastercard websites to find a list of ATMs near your travel destination.
  • Lost or Stolen Credit Cards

    Contact your bank immediately if your credit card is lost or stolen in Egypt. If you lose your Visa card in Egypt, dial (02) 25100200 and then enter 866-654-0128. Mastercard does not have a dedicated phone number in Egypt, but recommends that you call collect to the United States by dialing (636) 722-7111. To report a lost or stolen American Express card in Egypt, call (02) 27513910. You do not need to dial country codes when calling Egypt from inside the country.
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