Emi­rates NBD Egypt sus­pends credit, debit card use abroad

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

CAIRO: Emi­rates NBD Egypt said it was sus­pend­ing use of debit and credit cards abroad, a con­trol in­tended to keep hard cur­rency in­side the bank as Egypt en­dures a crip­pling forex short­age.

Egypt has suf­fered from a short­age of dol­lars in the bank­ing sys­tem that has sapped its abil­ity to im­port since a 2011 up­ris­ing drove away tourists and for­eign in­vestors, both cru­cial sources of hard cur­rency.

Egypt's cen­tral bank last month is­sued a let­ter to bank chiefs ask­ing that they "en­sure that debit cards, in­clud­ing pre­paid cards, is­sued in lo­cal cur­rency by Egyp­tian banks are only used within the coun­try." The cen­tral bank later said the let­ter was not in­tended to sig­nal a blan­ket ban on card use, but in­stead a re­quest that banks pre­vent in­di­vid­u­als from mis­us­ing debit cards to ac­quire large quan­ti­ties of for­eign cur­rency while abroad. The Emi­rates NBD an­nounce­ment to cus­tomers via SMS, made it the first bank in Egypt con­firmed by Reuters to be fol­low­ing the cen­tral bank di­rec­tive to sus­pend dol­lar with­drawals abroad. "Dear Val­ued Cus­tomer, please note that Emi­rates NBD cards will be dis­abled for in­ter­na­tional use out­side Egypt only ef­fec­tive 24th of July 2016 till fur­ther no­tice. Apolo­gies for any in­con­ve­nience," read the text mes­sage.

Emi­rates NBD did not pro­vide de­tails about what type of cards would no longer be func­tional out­side the coun­try, but sev­eral bank em­ploy­ees told Reuters it would ap­ply to both debit and credit cards.

On Mon­day Le­banon's Bank Audi in­formed cus­tomers that it was re­duc­ing the max­i­mum pur­chase limit out­side Egypt for hold­ers of its Mastercard Ti­ta­nium card to $4000 (Dh14,690) from $7,000 dol­lars, and that its max­i­mum with­drawal limit was $400 per month. The cen­tral bank was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment.

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