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Money in Egypt - Egyptian Pound


Page update - Aug 29, 2023

Theoretically, it is possible to spend vacation in Egyptian resorts in a manner not to change money and not even hold Egyptian currency in your hands. But in many cases, Egyptian money can save a lot.

You can pay in souvenir stores, cafes and restaurants, sightseeing agencies in US dollars, UK pounds, Euros without loss. But for example, a cab with a meter for Egyptian pounds will cost many times cheaper than in US dollars or Euros for the fixed price.

This page will talk about the features, coins and banknotes of the Egyptian currency, exchange rates and common tourist scams.

The information on this page was updated in August 2023. The exchange rates on this page are updated daily.

Latest news

On June 23, 2023, the new plastic 20 Egyptian pound note finally went into circulation. This note had been awaited for two years.

On July 5, 2022, the new 10 Egyptian pounds plastic banknote went into circulation.

Back in March 2021, the two new banknotes were announced. On August 2, 2021, the new EGP 10 and EGP 20 bills were officially introduced. The Central Bank of Egypt even shared images of the new banknotes.

The banknotes are entirely plastic. They were supposed to go into free circulation in November 2021, but there was a delay. The new plastic banknotes will not replace the old paper ones. That is, both versions will be in circulation simultaneously for a long time.

See a photo of the new EGP 10 bill and a photo of the new EGP 20 bill.

Egyptian pound

Egypt's currency is called the "Egyptian pound", the official designation is "EGP". You will see this abbreviation in banks and exchange offices.

Egyptians themselves call their currency by a word hard to pronounce for the Europeans, it sounds something like "junayh".

On the price tags in the stores, there are signs LE, L.E., E£ or £E, all of which stand for the Egyptian pound. The abbreviation LE stands for "livre egyptian", that is, "Egyptian livre" by analogy with "French livre". Many readers probably have questions, "Why is it called a livre if it is a pound? And what does France have to do with it at all?"

Let's try to answer these questions. Egypt was a full-fledged part of the Ottoman Empire for a long time. The Turkish currency was "kurush" aka "piastre". In 1805, Muhammad Ali Pasha came to power in Egypt and began his own policy in all spheres of life in the country. In 1833, there was a war between Egypt and Turkey, and the Egyptians won de facto independence (but nominally stayed a part of the Ottoman Empire). In its new status Egypt needed its own currency.

The Egyptian pound was introduced in 1834. The new currency did not replace the Turkish piastres (kurushi), but became the highest unit at the rate of 1 pound = 100 piastres. 1 Egyptian pound was real wealth at the time; it was equal to 7.5 grams of pure gold.

Muhammad Ali loved France and everything French. He built his army according to the French model, invited the best architects from Paris, and even gifted France a large obelisk from the Luxor temple. By the way, this obelisk still stands in Paris on the Place de la Concorde.

It is not surprising that the new currency had a French name, since there were so many Frenchmen in Egypt at the time. To remember at least the great archeologists-egyptologists of that time - Auguste Mariette (the founder of the Cairo Museum) and Jean-Francois Champollion (decrypted the Egyptian hieroglyphs) were Frenchmen.

Almost two centuries have passed, and nothing has changed in Egypt's currency - 1 pound is still divided into 100 piastres, and the French name LE is still common.

The Egyptian pound is used not only in Egypt, but also in the area of Gaza City (usually called "Gaza Strip"), which is a territory with an uncertain status. In Gaza, Egyptian pounds and Israeli shekels are used equally.

In what cases do you need Egyptian pounds?

If you are going to see the sights of Cairo or Alexandria. If you have decided to spend vacation at the Mediterranean resorts of Egypt or resorts around Suez (Ain Sokhna and others). In all these cases you need to change money, as it is necessary to pay in pounds.

If you come to Egypt's Red Sea resorts and are not going to leave the hotel, you can do it with US dollars, Euros, or UK pounds. The Egyptian pounds are not useful even during local excursions. The resorts of Egypt are separate areas, very different from the rest of the country. The pounds are not needed at the resorts. The photo near shows a typical price list from a hotel in Hurghada, it is entirely in dollars.

If you come to the Red Sea resorts, but want to go on excursions to Cairo, Alexandria, or Luxor, it is better to have some amount of pounds with you. Egyptian money is useful in the stores to buy water or snacks. You can buy Egyptian gifts and souvenirs several times cheaper in some local shops, but only for the pounds.

You can exchange money at banks or exchange offices. Lately hotels began to place ATMs, which are also able to perform currency exchange. The last option is the most convenient, as the ATM is sure not to cheat, the ATM is operational 24/7, the ATM never asks to show your passport.

Currency exchange

Read our detailed review "Currency exchange in Egypt".

Exchange rates

See the official exchange rates 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

How much money to take for everyday expenses

Read our detailed review "How much money to take for Egypt".

Features of Egyptian money

It is easy to exchange Euros, UK pounds, or US dollars to Egyptian pounds. But it's almost impossible to change it back, that's the policy of the Central Bank of Egypt. Therefore, try to exchange a little summ, so that by the end of vacation pounds are not left. The remaining pounds can be spent in Duty-Free at Hurghada, Cairo, and Sharm El Sheikh airports.

You can take the pounds out of the country now, but what to do with them at home? It is very problematic to change them. Unless you want to keep them as a souvenir. By the way, the 1 pound coin is very beautiful and has long been a popular souvenir of tourists.

1 pound is divided into 100 piastres, but theoretically there is an even smaller monetary unit in Egypt - millim. 1 piastre = 10 millimes, 1 pound = 1,000 millimes. Officially no one banned millims, but the coins of 1 and 5 millims ended issuing back in 1972. Now such coins are no longer in circulation.

Egyptian banknotes have a good feature - the rule "the greater the value, the larger in size" is respected there, which is convenient. The 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 pound bills are 14.5, 15, 15.5, 16, 16.5, and 17.5 centimeters long. The EGP 200 bill is also wider than all the others - 8 centimeters as opposed to 7 for the other bills.

A negative feature of the Egyptian pound bills is their external similarity. All banknotes have mosques pictures, inscriptions in Arabic, and the face value in Indo-Arabic numerals on the front side. It is difficult for the Europeans to distinguish the bills from each other. Need to turn the bills all over to the other side, where the inscriptions are already made in English, and the denomination is indicated in the usual numbers.

Such similarity of banknotes caused several types of cheats of tourists. Let's talk about these in detail.

Cheats of tourists

The most common cheat is giving back the wrong change. You are simply given less change than it should be. The cheater hopes that you count the change incorrectly as the bills are similar. The popularity of this cheat is obvious, because the police do not arrest or imprison you for making a mistake counting the change. If you notice a mistake, you will simply be told, "Oops. Sorry. My mistake. Here's your correct change".

The second fraud is with the 50 pound bill, with which tourists need to be especially careful. Most recently, the 50 piastre banknote (pictured near, click to enlarge) was in circulation.

These banknotes stopped being printed in 2006 and were completely withdrawn from circulation in 2010, but scammers still use them. They give you a 50 piastre bill for change instead of a 50 pound bill.

Remember, the 50 piastre bill has a picture of a pharaoh with a rod. If you see such an image, something is wrong.

In addition to the 50 piasters bill, there used to be 25 piasters and 1 pound bills (with an image of the temple of Abu Simbel). Fortunately, cheaters didn't find any use for these two bills.

The main rule is

Carefully count all the banknotes without leaving the cash register. Do not be lazy, turn the banknotes to the side where the face value is written in the usual numbers. After that, count the money, preferably twice.

And read our pages "What tourists should not do in Egypt" and "Cheats of tourists in Egypt".


Egyptian coins

On the obverse of the coins, you can see a thematic picture. On the reverse of the coins, the face value is written in Indo-Arabic numerals. Note that below these numbers you can find the denomination written in English (for most coins, not all).


5 piastres coin.

Until 1992, the obverse depicted the Pyramids of Giza. It seems strange that Egypt's most important landmark is depicted on the smallest coin. Apparently for this reason, the design of the coin was changed.

Since 1992, a vase has been depicted on the obverse. This is not some famous archeological find, but the simplest vase made in the classic Arabian style.

Weight: 2.4 grams. Diameter: 17 mm. Thickness: 1.04 mm. Composition: 94% steel, 2% nickel and 4% copper (external coating).


10 piastres coin.

The obverse depicts the famous mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha, which is located in the Cairo Citadel.

Weight: 3.2 grams. Diameter: 19 mm. Thickness: 1.1 mm. Composition: 94% steel, 2% copper and 4% nickel (external coating).


25 piastres coin.

The most boring Egyptian coin. The denomination is written on both sides, on the obverse the phrase "Arab Republic of Egypt" and the year of issue. Apparently, the author of the design of this coin had a creative crisis.

Weight: 5.2 grams. Diameter: 25 mm. Thickness: 1.4 mm. Composition: 95% copper, 5% aluminum.


50 piastres coin.

The obverse depicts the profile of Queen Cleopatra, the most famous Egyptian woman in history.

Weight: 6.5 grams. Diameter: 23 mm. Thickness: 1.7 mm. Composition: 94% steel, 2% nickel and 4% copper (external coating).


1 pound coin.

The obverse depicts the funerary mask of the 17th Dynasty pharaoh Tutankhamun, which was recovered in 1922 from the tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62) in the Valley of the Kings. If you think about it, this mask is great as a symbol of money, because it is golden and weighs more than 10 kilograms. Now the mask of Tutankhamun is kept in the Cairo Museum.

In addition to the 1 pound coin depicting the mask of Tutankhamun, 18 other commemorative coins were issued. These commemorative coins were minted in 2019 and 2021. Mintages were huge - from 1 to 40 million copies (each coin had a different mintage). As a result, Egypt now has a whole "zoo" of coins. And it is not a fact that a coin with the image of Tutankhamun's mask will fall into our hands.

Weight: 8.5 grams. Diameter: 25 mm. Thickness: 1.95 mm.

Composition of the central part: 94% steel, 2% nickel and 4% copper (external coating).

Composition of the rim: 94% steel, 2% copper and 4% nickel (external coating).

Coins in Egypt are constantly changing. There are now several series of coins in circulation. For example, you can find coins of 50 piastres of two diameters - 23 (2007) and 25 (2005) millimeters. Both coins are full-fledged legal tender. If you come across something like this, don't be surprised.


Egyptian banknotes

Bills of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Egyptian pounds are now in circulation. In 2006, newspapers Al-Ahram (the name translates as "pyramids") and Al-Akbar (translates as "news") stated that the authorities were planning to introduce the EGP 500 bill. But so far there have been no official statements, and no one has even seen layouts of the banknote.


5 pounds banknote.

The front side depicts the Mosque of Ibn Tulun. The back side is a reproduction of the engraving "The River Nile offers gifts to the inhabitants of the valley", found in one of the royal tombs.

Dimensions: 145x70. Color scheme: blue-green.


10 pounds banknote.

The front side depicts the Al-Rifa'i Mosque. The back side shows the top of the statue of Khafre pharaoh. Archaeologists discovered this sculpture in the memorial temple at Giza near the pyramid of Khafre. The sculpture can now be seen in the Cairo Museum.

Dimensions: 150x70. Color scheme: pink.


20 pounds banknote.

The front side depicts the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha. The back side depicts the battle chariot of ancient Egypt.

Dimensions: 155x70. Color scheme: green.


50 pounds banknote.

The front side depicts the Mosque of Qajmas al-Ishaqi (aka Mosque of Abu Hurayba). The back side shows the Temple in Edfu dedicated to the god Horus.

Dimensions: 160x70. Color scheme: brown and red.


100 pounds banknote.

The front side depicts Sultan Mosque-Madrasa of Sultan Hassan in Cairo. The back side shows the head of the Great Sphinx in Giza.

Dimensions: 165x70. Color scheme: purple.


200 pounds banknote.

The front side depicts the Mosque of Qani-Bay in Cairo. The back side shows the The Seated Scribe statue found by archaeologist Auguste Mariette in Saqqara in 1850. The statue is dated to the fourth dynasty, that is, it is the same age as the Khufu pyramid (about 2,500 B.C.).

It is interesting that this sculpture is now kept not in Egypt, but in Paris in the Louvre Museum. Among Egyptian politicians there are sometimes statements that Egypt should demand it back. For this reason, the appearance of the The Seated Scribe on the banknote was received with apprehension. Isn't it a political statement?

Dimensions: 175x80. Color scheme: olive.


One last important note

The US dollars and Euros are widely accepted in Egypt. The UK pound is harder because most ATMs do not accept it. But other currencies are not convenient because it is very hard to exchange.

Take US dollars or Euros with you. These are the better options.

On how much money to take for a comfortable and interesting vacation in Egypt, read our review "How much money to take for Egypt".

We wish you good luck with money in Egypt, and read our other interesting pages about this country (see the list of the pages below).

TIPS FOR TOURISTS

What Don't Do in Egypt

Cheats of Tourists in Egypt

What to Take to Egypt

Sharks in Egypt

To Egypt With Kids

How NOT to Get Poisoned in Egypt

National Holidays in Egypt

Weather in Egypt by Month

MONEY AND EXPENSES

What Money in Egypt

Money Exchange in Egypt

How Much Money to Take to Egypt

TRANSPORT

Taxi in Egypt

Cairo Metro

From Hurghada to Cairo

From Sharm to Cairo

From Hurghada to Luxor

From Cairo to Ain Sokhna

Intercity Buses - Guide

GIFTS, SOUVENIRS, CUSTOMS LAW

What to Bring from Egypt

What You Can & Not Bring in Egypt

What You Can & Not Take out of Egypt

ABOUT EGYPT

What Language is Spoken in Egypt

Who Are the Modern Egyptians

Friday & Weekends in Egypt

Ramadan in Egypt

TELECOM

Internet in Egypt Cheaply

RESORT REGIONS

Sharm El Sheikh

Naama Bay

Hurghada

Ain Sokhna

Mediterranean Rivera

BAD HABITS

Alcohol in Egypt - Prices & Rules

Local Egyptian Alcohol

Cigarettes & Smoking in Egypt

Vape and iQos in Egypt

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