The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (LE). Don’t change your money before you come to Egypt. You will get a better rate here. Euros, dollars and sterling are accepted (notes not coins) but your money will go much further if you change it to Egyptian pounds. The best places to exchange money are the currency exchange shops (lots everywhere) or the bank. It is not a good idea to change at reception desks in hotels or when paying in restaurants or shops as you will not get the bank rate.
Visa and Mastercard are accepted in most hotels and restaurants but because of the high fees charged for processing the cards most businesses prefer to be paid in cash. Where cards are accepted it is normal for the customer to pay the bank processing fee. Since there is a culture of price competitivness and bargaining in Egypt, shops, hotels, restaurants etc do not factor in credit card charges to the prices they quote.
ATM machines are in all the major hotels and outside banks in the major towns in Egypt. Putting your money into your credit/debit card before you come and drawing it out at the ATM’s is a good idea if you are worried about losing it.
200 Le note
100 Le note
50 Le note
20 Le note
10 Le note
5 Le note
1 Le COIN
50 piastres coin = half of 1 Le
25 piastres coin = quarter of 1 Le
TOURIST TIP: Please don’t tip Egyptians with COINS from your own country. They cannot change them in the banks – they can only change them with other tourists. Especially in these times when there are a not of tourists around -the foreign coins are especially WORTHLESS.
When people come up to you in the street showing you euros, sterling or foreign COINS they are not begging….they are asking if you can change the coins to either Egyptian or Foreign NOTES because they cannot use or exchange those coins.
There is a 1LE coin which you have to examine carefully because it is very very similar to the 1 Euro coins.
If you intend doing a lot of shopping and get flustered when mentally trying to convert currency so you understand what you are paying for everything – it might be an idea to get yourself a cheap currency converter before travelling.
Foreign Currency is difficult to get in Egypt at the moment so paying in foreign cash for your accommodation is welcomed everywhere. Also if you have been quoted for your accommodation in a foreign currency it is better for yourself to pay that in the currency quoted – because if you pay in local currency (in most places) you will not get the bank/exchange rate and will lose out somewhat.
Most common and easiest foreign currency to change are Euro, English Pounds, US and Australian Dollars.
Have a wonderful time in Egypt 🙂