Egypt’s currency is known as the Egyptian Pound (LE for short, which means livre egyptienne: French for Egyptian Pound). One Egyptian Pound is divided into 100 piastres, coinage of which is available in 25, 50, and 100 piastres (1LE). 5, 10, and 20 piastres are still in circulation, but it is very rare to see them nowadays. Banknotes are available in 5 LE, 10 LE, 20 LE, 50 LE, 100 LE, and 200LE denominations, and you can still come across the rare sight of 25 and 50 piastre notes as well as 1LE.
As well as the local currency, the US Dollar ($), Pound Sterling (£), and Euro (€) are all accepted in most places, though transactions are much far better done by using LE (exchange rates in Egypt tend to be better than in the home countries of the aforementioned currencies).
Many of the world’s currencies, especially £UK, $US and €, have a far better exchange rate in Egypt, so please consider waiting until your arrival before changing currencies. However, many smaller and less popular currencies, such as the £Scottish, Irish Punt, $New Zealand and Vietnamese Dong, will not be accepted; even by the major banks.
The working hours for banks in Egypt are from 0830 to 1400, Sunday to Thursday. Banks at airports do stay open 24/7, allowing for currency exchange and visa purchases whenever your flight is due to arrive.
ATM’s and Travellers Cheques:
ATM’s are plentiful throughout the country, as are the plethora of banks, the vast majority of the former issuing only Egyptian currency. After many years of struggle, Egypt is now capable of accepting Credit and Debit cards: once it was either cash, or bank wire transfer, which caused many problems for various institutes in the country: especially tourism!
Travellers’ cheques can still be used, but the amount of places that accept them nowadays is diminishing very quickly, so it is worthwhile forgetting about getting a supply of them before travel: even some banks refuse to exchange them now.
All major credit cards are accepted: Visa; MasterCard; American Express; Discover; and many others.