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What currency does Egypt use?

The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound. If you’re planning a trip to Egypt soon, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about exchanging currency, the Egyptian pound to GBP exchange rate and how best to pay for things when you get there. We’re here to help you get ready for your travels.

Egyptian currency

The Egyptian pound is abbreviated to EGP, E£ or in Arabic ( ج.م). One Egyptian Pound is subdivided into smaller currency denominations known as piastres and millimes. 1 EGP = 100 piastres = 1000 milliemes. In Arabic, Egyptian pounds are called gineih, and piastres are called qirsh.

Egyptian pound denominations

The Egyptian pound is mainly a paper currency. Notes are available in the following denominations:

  • 25 piastres
  • 50 piastres
  • 1 pound
  • 5 pounds
  • 10 pounds
  • 20 pounds
  • 50 pounds
  • 100 pounds
  • 200 pounds

Coins come in denominations of:

  • 10 piastres
  • 25 piastres
  • 50 piastres
  • 1 pound

Egyptian pound history

The Egyptian pound originates from 1834, before which the currency was the piastre. The piastre was based on Turkish kurus, inherited while Egypt was part of the Ottoman empire.

The pound was named after British currency, which at the time was the most important form of international finance.

Can I use my card in Egypt?

Many shops, hotels and restaurants in tourist areas will accept payment by credit or debit card. Remember that there can be hidden fees when you use your card abroad. Check with your bank what it will cost to use your card for payments in Egypt.

Most big hotels and established stores and restaurants will accept Mastercard and Visa, and contactless payments are common. Smaller hotels, cafés, shops and markets are more likely to expect cash.

Not many places may accept American Express and Diners Club cards, so have an alternative if possible.

Bear in mind that with the Travelex Money Card you can make contactless payments with no hidden charges. As a prepaid card, it could also help you keep on top of your holiday spending.

It’s generally a good idea to have at least some local currency to pay for tips, transport, snacks, and drinks.

Is Egyptian currency available in the UK?

Currency exchange for Egypt is normally straightforward with Travelex, but in 2023 the currency has seen a lot of volatility. Currently, demand for cash is outstripping supply, which means it is not currently possible to buy Egyptian pounds in the UK.

Is the Egyptian pound a closed currency?

No, it’s not a closed currency but because of recent devaluation, it is a little volatile at the moment. There is a shortage of banknotes, so at present Travelex doesn’t offer exchange for Egyptian pounds.

Currency exchange in Egypt

There are various options to get hold of Egyptian pounds once in Egypt. There are bureaux de change at airports and ports, and you can also exchange money at any bank. Many hotels will also exchange British currency for Egyptian pounds.

The Egypt exchange rate you are offered will vary by location, so it can be worth shopping around.

Can I use euros in Egypt?

It is best to exchange currency for Egyptian pounds on arrival in Egypt. It’s straightforward to trade dollars, pounds or euros in banks for Egyptian pounds.

Enjoy safer spending in Egypt with the Travelex Money Card

So now you should have a good idea of what’s happening with exchange rates in Egypt, and understand that it’s currently challenging to buy EGP in the UK.

A secure way to manage your holiday money in Egypt is with the Travelex Money Card. An optimal alternative to carrying your debit card. Unlike your debit card, our Travelex Money Card is not linked to your bank account, minimising your risk of losing all your funds in case of loss or theft. Load your card with Great British pounds (GBP), and withdraw Egyptian pounds from ATMs or make secure, contactless payments directly at the point of sale.

Please note that a 2% fee applies to GBP loads, and a 5.75% fee is incurred when using the card in Egypt where the local currency isn't offered on our Travelex Money Card. This fee also extends to cash withdrawals for Egyptian pounds and other currencies that are not offered on our Travelex Money Card. While Travelex does not impose charges to ATM withdrawals, it's important to note that fees from other ATM providers may apply. Find out more on our fees here.

Egypt is an unmissable travel destination that is unrivalled for its sights and history. For more detail about Egypt and the incredible experiences on offer, see our Egypt travel guide.

To make sure your money goes further, see our guide to travelling Egypt on a budget.