Page update - Aug 13, 2023
How and where to change US dollars, Euros, and UK pounds into Egyptian pounds more profitable in Egypt? And is it necessary to change at all? Is it possible and convenient to travel with other currency? How do you know at a glance if the exchange rate is good or bad? Read the answers on this page.
The information on this page was updated in August 2023.
Please note that this page will only talk about currency exchange in Egypt. If you are interested in information about the currency itself - features, banknotes, coins, then read our detailed review "What Money in Egypt".
Most tourists in Egypt don't change money, don't hold or even ever see Egyptian currency. Just in case, see in the photo below for how Egyptian coins and banknotes look like. Click on the photo to enlarge to full screen.
This is not surprising, since the resort areas of the muhafazah (governorates, provinces) of the Red Sea and Sinai have long since switched to living in dollars rather than Egyptian pounds.
The latest currency crisis in November 2016, when the Egyptian pound went down in value almost 3 times during a week, turned Egyptians away from their currency more.
In October 2022, there was a "mini-crash of the Egyptian pound" - falling from 19.5 to 24.5. In January 2023, there was another "mini-crash" - a fall from 24 to 30. However, it was quite predictable for people who know at least a little about economics, as the exchange rate had been standing still for 1.5 years, and the difference between inflation in the U.S. and Egypt was significant. Such a situation is an unambiguous precursor of currency fall. Which inevitably happened.
De facto, now in the resorts of the Red Sea (Hurghada and neighboring resorts) and Sinai (Sharm El Sheikh and neighboring resorts), the dollar is the main currency, and the Egyptian pound is secondary.
Almost all services can be obtained for US dollars, UK pounds, or Euros. Even price tags in souvenir stores are displayed in dollars. There is no sense to change money there, however we recommend that you be mentally prepared that Egyptian pounds may be needed. Read our page to the end for all the details.
Important! If you decide to pay only in dollars, then take small value bills of dollars (1, 2, 5, 10). Often salespeople, cab drivers, and restaurants do not have change in dollars. In this case they can give you change but in Egyptian pounds.
Or change a small amount - 50 or 100 dollars. It's especially useful to ride in a cab cheap on the meter or to give tips.
In Suez (Ain Sokhna and neighboring) and the Mediterranean resorts of Egypt, the situation is reversed. The Egyptian pound is the main currency of payment there. For a map with the resorts, cities and airports see our page "Map of Egypt's resorts".
If you are going to Cairo, Alexandria or other cities that are not resorts, then you should definitely change currency. Cab drivers in Egypt take dollars even in Cairo, but stores, cafes, public transport, and tickets to sights are only for the pounds.
To be honest, there is not much difference. The rates are about the same in ATMs, exchange offices, and bank branches. We will talk about the pros and cons of all the options below.
Make change in a place, where it is more convenient for you. Check the exchange rates just in case!
See the current exchange rates of the Egyptian pound to the US dollar, Euro, UK pound, and other currencies in the table below:
Exchange rates at 02.03.2024
1 Egyptian pound = 0,0323 US dollar
1 Egyptian pound = 0,0255 UK pound
1 Egyptian pound = 0,0298 EURO
1 Egyptian pound = 0,0438 CAN dollar
1 Egyptian pound = 0,0495 AUS dollar
1 Egyptian pound = 0,0529 NZ dollar
1 Egyptian pound = 2,6811 IND rupee
1 Egyptian pound = 0,0285 Swiss francs
1 Egyptian pound = 0,2300 Chinese yuan
1 Egyptian pound = 4,8598 Japanese yen
1 US dollar = 30,9598 Egyptian pound
1 UK pound = 39,2157 Egyptian pound
1 EURO = 33,5570 Egyptian pound
1 CAN dollar = 22,8311 Egyptian pound
1 AUS dollar = 20,2020 Egyptian pound
1 NZ dollar = 18,9036 Egyptian pound
1 IND rupee = 0,3730 Egyptian pound
1 Swiss francs = 35,0877 Egyptian pound
1 Chinese yuan = 4,3478 Egyptian pound
1 Japanese yen = 0,2058 Egyptian pound
ATMs are the main option of currency exchange in Egypt. There are exchange offices, but they are very rare, if compared to Turkey, Tunisia, UAE and other popular resort countries. ATMs are found everywhere.
The important point 1. The menu in Egyptian ATMs is in English and Arabic.
The important point 2. Not all Egyptian ATMs have a currency exchange function. About half of the ATMs change, and half work only with bank cards. Misr ATMs are the most common, and they usually change. See the photo below for what it looks like, click on the photo to enlarge.
How do you know if this ATM is changing currency? Look at the menu, where there should be an option "cardless operations" or "cash service". See the picture for how it looks.
Then see the next level of the menu, it must have the option "exchange". If there is, it means the ATM changes currency. See the picture for how it looks.
Then everything is simple. The ATM will open the cash receptacle. You need to put (or insert) dollars or euros in it. The ATM will give you back Egyptian pounds and a register receipt.
The important point 3. There are often technical problems with ATMs in Egypt. They often break down and are repaired at a snail's speed. Egyptians in general don't like to be in a hurry. But it seems that bank technicians don't like to rush twice as much.
The ATM may work, but the currency exchange function may not work. This also happens often. For example, you select the "exchange" option and the ATM responds with a black screen. Or the ATM may simply not have the EG pounds in cash. Fortunately, in all of these cases, the ATM will give your dollar or euro bill back.
If the ATM at your hotel doesn't work, look for another one. Don't expect to come back tomorrow and the ATM will work.
The important point 4. Some ATMs do not accept all bills. For example, they may not accept a worn or battered bill. Or only US 100 or Euro 100 bills are accepted, and other bills are not accepted.
In those cases, change a different bill or look for another ATM.
Exchange offices in Egypt are rare. It is not a profitable business for Egyptians. Usually there are exchange offices in large hotels, in large markets, near tourist attractions. The offices are open from early morning to late evening. It is obligatory by law to ask for a passport, but in fact they most often do not.
Exchange rates at exchange offices are usually very good. See the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge. The official pound/dollar rate that day was 1:15.7.
There are more exchange offices in Cairo and other Nile Valley cities than in the resorts. But the Cairo exchange offices also provide other services to the population. Therefore, there are queues in the evening. The conclusion is simple - in Cairo, try to get to the exchange office in the daytime or change at ATMs.
This is a good option. The rates is usually good, the commission is minimal or absent. Passports are required for exchange at the bank. The bank will not give a fake banknote and will not cheat.
The main disadvantage is that only some bank branches change currency. Most bank branches in Egypt are engaged in deposits, transfers, and loans to the public.
In addition, banks have inconvenient opening hours. Banks usually open at 9 am and close at 3 pm. They do not work on weekends (in Egypt, the weekend is Friday and Saturday) and public holidays. For the public holidays list and calendar, see our review "Public holidays in Egypt".
If you get a visa on arrival, then you can exchange currency in the same window. The rates are usually acceptable. It is possible to pay for the visa with a large banknote, and ask for change in Egyptian pounds. For example, you pay by banknote of 100 US dollars, of which 25 is the visa cost and 75 will be returned in Egyptian pounds. This is convenient.
US dollars to Egyptian pounds can be exchanged now (August 2023) at the rate of 1:29.8 or worse. That is, the loss is 3.5% when compared to the official exchange rate. That's a lot if you compare it to ATM rates.
If you want to change currency at this kiosk, then mentally prepare for rejection. If the line of people for visas is large, the staff no longer exchange currency. Wait until the line disappears.
Some exchange offices have very "tasty" rates. But they also charge a fee for the exchange. Be careful. It also happens that there is nothing written about the commission. And sometimes it is written somewhere on the side and in very small print.
It is better to show the employee of the exchange office a bill of 100 dollars (euros, UK pounds) and ask, "How many Egyptian pounds?". He will show you the amount, you divide that amount by 100 and understand the REAL exchange rate.
This method works great all over the world!
ATMs are easier. Before giving out Egyptian pounds (before the end of the transaction), the exact amount will appear on the screen. It's convenient as you can check the amount and cancel right away if you're not satisfied with something.
Fortunately, we have not yet seen ATMs charge a fee for currency exchange. They do charge for card withdrawals, but not for exchanges. See an example of an ATM exchange receipt in the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen.
By the way, pay attention to the rate. On this receipt it's 15.64 pounds per dollar. No commissions! The official rate that day was 15.7. The rates at the ATMs are very favorable. At least at Banque Misr for sure.
It is not difficult. You need to find out the current official exchange rate and compare it with the figure on the board of the exchange office. If the difference is within 1.5%, then you can change for sure, the rate is good. See the current rates in the table at the beginning of this page.
And here is an interesting point! The rate in an exchange office may be a fraction of a percent worse than the official one, or even equal to the official one. And this should not come as a surprise.
The reason is that Egyptians do not trust their currency very much and prefer to keep all their savings in dollars, euros, or gold. The country feels tha lack of foreign currency. Exchange offices often work "in the black" and then sell dollars to local people. In this case, they are ready to buy up foreign currency from tourists at the official rate.
If you have Egyptian pounds in your hands at the end of your vacation, you probably won't be able to change them back into dollars or other currency. At the time this page was updated (2023), the Egyptian Central Bank prohibits reverse currency exchange.
Conclusion 1: Don't change more than you need for current expenses. It will be hard to spend unwanted Egyptian pounds.
Conclusion 2: If there are Egyptian pounds on hand, spend them in the airport Duty-Free.
- Read our review "How much money to take to Egypt" about how much you'll need for current expenses;
- For the prices for popular souvenirs and gifts, see our detailed review "What to bring from Egypt";
Have a good holiday in Egyptian resorts, and read our useful pages about Egypt for tourists (see the list of the pages below).
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