|English: The Nile River as it flows through the city of Cairo, Egypt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
It's no big deal opening a savings account in Egypt, providing you've lived in the country for at least a few months. The banks in Cairo or any of the other big cities and towns will certainly be happy to provide you with the same sorts of personal banking services that banks back home do. Thanks to the internet, it's a fairly easy matter to view available current accounts from HSBC, for example, or from any of the other multinational and indigenous banks operating in the country.
Pop into the nearest branch of the bank of your choice and fill in an account opening form. Staff there should be able to advise you about the interest rates offered by various savings accounts. You'll need to take along some official documentation, too, just as you would when opening an account back in the States. The process is fairly similar.
The sorts of documents required include your passport, work visa and your residency certificate. Take along a utility bill, too, to provide evidence of an Egyptian address. A letter from your bank back in the USA, confirming account details and the length of time you've banked with them, will also help with the application process. Some banks may also want to see the last three monthly bank account statements. Finally, take along a couple of passport-size ID photographs which will be used by the Egyptian bank for record purposes.
So how better off are you likely to be living in Cairo instead of New York? For this far from in-depth comparison, let's assume at the very least the salary earned living in either city is about the same. All the comparison figures come from the excellent website Numbeo.
In broad-brush terms, consumer prices in New York are more than twice that of Cairo. Include rent in the figure then the differential rises by over 200%. A straight rent price comparison between the two cities sees the figure jump to nearly 600%. Restaurant prices in New York are about 140% higher and groceries about 125% higher. Opportunities to save? You'd better believe it.
A meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Cairo will likely set you back about $5; the equivalent figure in New York is around $13, a 162% difference. A Coke or a Pepsi will cost you $0.49 in Cairo and $1.50 in New York. There's a 500% difference in the price of an average bottle of water. In Cairo it costs about $0.25, while in New York you'll pay about $1.50.
There's a 200% difference in the cost of a loaf of white bread. A packet of cigarettes costs about $2.10 in Cairo and more than $12 in New York. Local transport costs are also much cheaper, the equivalent monthly pass costing about $13 in Cairo and more than $100 in New York. Basic utilities such as electric, gas and water are also so much cheaper in Cairo. Expect a difference of about 400% between equivalent-sized apartments.
Click here to go to Numbeo.