How to open a bank account in Egypt


Whether you’re into eternal sunshine, glorious beaches or some of the world’s most famous historical sites, Egypt may just be the place for you. Egypt is the most populous Arab country, and nearly 10% of its total population is comprised of expats.¹ Clearly, there’s something to the idea of living in Egypt. If you’re considering making the trek there to find out what’s drawing so many people, you’ll be in good company.

But if you’re going to spend any long-term time in Egypt, you’re going to need to figure out a way to continue to manage your finances while you’re there. As an expat or foreign visitor, can you even open a bank account there? Is a local bank account really the best choice for you? Read on for what you need to know about opening a bank account in Egypt.

Can I open a bank account as a non-resident of Egypt?

The short answer to this is yes — but it isn’t easy.² You’ll have to meet the requirements of the bank where you’re trying to open the account, and some of them can be stringent. Just about anywhere you go, you’ll need a residence visa with at least six months of validity.² You may also need to make an initial deposit of several thousand Egyptian pounds, though this will depend on the bank.² Finding out the requirements of each individual bank in your area will require you to be a little old-fashioned — you’ll just have to stop by and ask.² You can see why this might become frustrating and time-consuming.

What's the process? How long does it usually take?

Before you even go, you should gather some personal information. You may not end up needing all of it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you took the time in advance. Make sure you have:³

  • Your residence permit
  • Passport sized photos of yourself
  • Your passport (the original and a copy), including your Egyptian visa
  • The minimum deposit required by your chosen bank
  • All necessary bank forms completed and signed

Egyptian bank employees will generally speak good English, so you shouldn’t have trouble communicating.³ All told, if you come prepared, you should be able to open your bank account in less than an hour.

Can I open a bank account abroad? What about at least online?

Since you’ll be required to produce your residence visa and a minimum deposit, you’re very unlikely to be able to open an Egyptian bank account online or from abroad.²

What banking fees are involved?

Yes, there are fees involved as almost no bank account comes with no fees. Here’s what you should expect in Egypt.

ATM fees

It’s common to pay ATM fees in Egypt when you withdraw money from another bank’s ATM. These are rarely more than around $2 per transaction, but still, something to be aware of, as they can add up if you make frequent withdrawals.⁴

Normal bank fees

Whether an account will come with annual fees and what kind of user fees might be imposed will depend entirely on the bank. Just like in any other country, Egypt has banks that offer low- or no-fee accounts, as well as banks that offer more premium accounts that will incur fees.

Fees for international transfers

Almost all banks charge fees for international transactions, like sending money overseas. Banks in Egypt are no different. In addition to transfer fees, banks often mark up their exchange rates, usually by 3-5%, making international transactions even more expensive.

There’s an alternative, though. Wise moves money overseas as the exact mid-market exchange rate. There are no markups or hidden fees; just a small, fair transfer fee that you see and agree to upfront — no surprises.

Which bank should I choose?

Egypt is home to a number of popular retail banks, as well as some international banks that operate there that you may already be familiar with. Some possible options are:

Arab Bank Egypt

Arab Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the entire middle east, founded in 1930 and now serving 30 different countries. It has dozens of branches and ATMs throughout Egypt, which can be located on its website. Some products offered include:

  • Loans
  • Cards
  • Personal banking
  • Corporate banking

HSBC Egypt

HSBC is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, with 38 million customers worldwide. It serves 67 countries, including Egypt. HSBC Egypt offers:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Cards
  • Loans
  • Online money transfers

Bank Audi

Bank Audi Egypt, formerly Cairo Far East Bank SAE, has a network of 46 branches throughout Egypt and offers its customers a host of personal, business and corporate banking products. Among those that expats may find useful are:

  • Current and savings accounts
  • Loans
  • Cards
  • E-payments and online banking

Mashreq Bank

Mashreq Bank is home to more than 30 branches, including ATMs. Its most popular services include:

  • Current and savings accounts
  • Cards
  • Loans
  • Insurance


One alternative to a traditional bank account is Wise, an online peer-to-peer money transfer service that could help you save. Wise sends money to more than 50 countries, including Egypt, at the real mid-market rate, with no exchange rate markups or hidden fees. You only have to pay a small, fair transfer fee each time you send money.

Wise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, which allow users to send, receive and manage money in dozens global currencies all at the same time, with more currencies being added. You can even receive personalized bank details to get paid like a local if you’re in Europe.

Try Wise today to see if it can solve some of your international banking woes.

If you’re ready to pull the trigger on a move to Egypt, or even if you’re just planning on an extended, but not permanent, stay, opening a bank account may be high on your priority list. Going in knowing the procedures and standards will definitely help ensure you have smooth sailing when you open your account. Good luck and safe travels!


¹ (June 11th 2018)

² (June 11th 2018)

³ (June 11th 2018)

⁴ (June 11th 2018)

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