Thursday, November 15, 2012

Egypt, An Ideal Place to Retire?

Egypt: Gizeh
Egypt: Gizeh (Photo credit: Brooklyn Museum)
There are almost six million elderly people living in Egypt, many of them expatriates from the United States, Britain and the rest of Europe, according to the latest government figures. The figure represents almost one in 14 of the population. Three out of every 200 marriages last year and one out of every 14 divorces in Egypt also involved the elderly. 

There are lots of good reasons to move to Egypt either to work there or to retire. Friendly people, low cost of living, wall-to-wall sunshine, history at every turn – the list goes on and on. And, of course, excellent banks to look after the pension and the investments, too. Egypt's banking system is thoroughly modern offering a complete range of financial services. No problem then applying for a loan or a credit card. Why not click here for more information on Egypt credit cards.

You'll also find all the usual credit card promotions and loans at competitively low rates. So it's worth spending a little time checking it all out. Some of the largest multinational banks are to be found in the country, offering the sorts of personal banking experience you'd find back home. Applying for a MasterCard in Egypt, for example, is much the same as applying for one elsewhere, but do shop around for the ubiquitous no fee and other card promotion deals we've all come to love!

Names you've probably heard of are likely to include Barclays, HSBC, Citibank, BNP Paribas. They've all got a long and illustrious association with Egypt. Banque Misr may not be one you're completely familiar with. It's an Egyptian bank of some note which has branches across the major towns and cities. It also has currency exchange and work permit offices for expatriate workers. One of the oldest banks is the National Bank of Egypt (NBE). It's the largest bank, too, accounting for some three out of every four credit cards issued and four out of every 10 debit cards issued in the country. The Bank of Alexandria, which has hundreds of branches, is also one of the major banks operating in Egypt, as is the Commercial International Bank (CIB) which holds the largest market capital of any of the banks.

If you need to, opening a personal bank account shouldn't represent too much of a problem. Fair enough, you'll probably have had to live in the country for at least six months. Anything less and an application will be unlikely to succeed. Naturally, you'll have to prove who you are, which means providing the bank with official documentation

This will undoubtedly include passport, work visa and residence certificate. It will certainly help move the application process along if you also provide a couple of passport-size photographs. Some information about previous banking history – a letter from your previous bank and a couple of recent statements – should also prove useful. The more information you provide the quicker the application process will be completed.

And make sure you go with a bank with a wide network of cash machines. That way you won't be charged for using a machine belonging to a different bank. Be aware, too, the amounts of money you can withdraw from ATMs in general do actually vary, anywhere from EGP 2,000 and EGP 4,000 (about GBP £220 - £440, USD $330 - $660).

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