cahs vs. credit cards

Apr 2nd, 2006, 09:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 16
cahs vs. credit cards

I have read that it is customary for Egyptians to request cash vs. credit. Will credit be accepted anywhere? Upon arriving in Cairo is there a place to exchange US dollars for Egyptian pounds so we can take a taxi to our hotel?
coolbaugh7 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,098
Last question first - whenever I travel out of US I feel more comfortable having some currency of that country with me. Banks in any major US city should have Egyptian pounds (we had no trouble finding them at a bank in Boston) and even our suburban bank could get them in 2 days. They can also be ordered from various internet sites. Exchange rate may be a little worse - but we are talking about $50-100 exchanged, so actual cost is minimal.

I have also found exchanging dollars for foreign currency is much more involved than merely going to an ATM and getting their currency. I used an ATM at Cairo airport (admittedly 4 years ago)

If you are getting visa upon arrival, check on how it is paid for. In past they would only accept US cash - if that is still the case, plan for that.

And a word about your taxi ride to hotel. Driver will quote you a price. This is negotiable. Remind him several times during ride that he quoted that price. Upon arrival at your hotel, it is very likely that the price he quotes will be different, and higher, than the first price. Be pleasant but firm, and in the end if you throw in a few extra pounds all will be satisfied with the transaction.
gail is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 01:00 PM
Posts: n/a
If you get your visa upon arrival you'll need USD or Euro for payment. Then right there in the baggage claim area are exchange windows to get Egyptian Pounds. Most major hotels have exchange bureaus where you can exchange USD to Egypt Pounds. The exchange rate is set by the government so it the same whether here or if you find an ATM.

At the exchange window at airport or at hotel, you can ask for smaller denominations to use as tips. ATMs seem to dispense large bills which you have to break into smaller bills. If all else fails, most anyone will gladly take USD.

You can use your credit cards at major hotels and larger shops, though some small shops will allow for a credit card purchase if spending a sizeable amount. Same holds true for restaurants - credit cards ok at larger, but not small eateries.
Apr 3rd, 2006, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 9
I had no problem using ATMs as my primary source. Very easy to exchange large bills when paying admissions to the sites, as they have large amounts of smaller bills. Just make a point of using the largest bill you can get by with.
Steel_Lady is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 10:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 6
Egypt is primarily a cash kind of place. Larger restaurants, hotels and shops will take credit cards. ATMs are all over the place although you might occasionally have trouble finding a working one. (Also beware that recently we've had friends who've used an ATM, usually an HSBC one, not get their cash, but find the transaction has been debited.) Change a $50 or 50Euro at the airport for the ride into town. As above- ask for some smaller bills. You can change money at the same place where you'll buy your visa stamps. There are also several ATMs at the baggage area. Another option for changing cash, besides banks which can take time or hotels where you might get a lower rate, is at pharmacy's. When we first moved to Cairo I did all my exchanging with a guy at a local pharmacy. Everyone wants dollars and they can be hard to come by for the locals.
mot10 is offline  

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