Crédit Agricole Egypt suspends credit, debit card use abroad

Crédit Agricole Egypt said Tuesday it was suspending use of debit and credit cards abroad as well as all international online transactions for all card types.

Transactions with foreign currencies taking place in Egypt at some merchants have been also suspended, the French bank in Egypt stated.

These decisions are effective from 1st September 2016, the statement added.

The move follows similar measures taken by a number of other banks two months earlier. Emirates NBD Egypt in July told customers that it would suspend use of Egyptian credit and debit cards abroad entirely, but later rowed back on the decision and said it would set new limits instead.

In addition, Commercial International Bank (CIB), Egypt’s largest listed bank, also told customers on July 27th it was reducing the amount of foreign currency customers can spend and withdraw when using their debit and credit cards abroad.

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.

In June, Egypt’s central bank wrote to bank chiefs asking that they “ensure that debit cards, including pre-paid 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.

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