Thursday, May 24, 2007

Banking in Egypt . . .

Have you EVER experienced that your bank can not cash your paycheck, because you don’t have a bank-account???
I got a pay-check from abroad. A closed check that is. I have many times in my life got closed checks and I also used to write closed checks if I ever wrote checks. This is to prevent anybody else to be able to cash the check, if it got stolen.
So, I got a closed check from HSBC in UK and went to HSBC here in Egypt. I don’t have any bank account at the time. I have had several accounts in different banks here in Egypt, but found out that none of them are to be trusted, so I dropped it all together.
Once I had an account . . .
in Arab International Bank: When I should take out money or cash a check, they gave the money to the one behind me (a stranger) while I was signing for it and it was me who got thrown out, when I started shouting, because I had not got my money.

In commercial Bank Egypt: They gave the whole account to somebody else from Norway, with false signature and paper. She did not even have the same hand-style as me, and did not even have my name, Her name was (Carmen Furentcia!) but with the help from The Norwegian Embassy, they only handed over my account to her. That was the account of mine that was holding the major amount of my money. I never got it back. It was never anybody that found it necessary to help me.

In CityBank: They started to withdraw money for insurance directly from my account, without telling me or ask me if I was interested to have any insurance at all. THEY had decided that it was a good idea to have their insurance.

In Misr Bank: They gave the recite of received money to an unknown person behind me. That was at a time, when those recites was necessary when one should renew the visa. The stay was according to the amount you had taken out of your account in US$ for living, if you did not have work-permit.

In Pakistan International Bank of Egypt: I had given strictly, written order of that a part of my salary (from Pakistan International School, Cairo) should automatically be transferred to my account in Denmark, since I had dept there that should be paid. But with interference from the Norwegian Embassy, they had contradicted my order and instead ordered the money to themselves (to a person from the Norwegian Embassy). With the result that I came in big trouble in Denmark and lost my account in Denmark. The Norwegian Embassy also went to my school and ordered all my post censured. All my post went to the Norwegian Embassy, although I was by now a Danish citizen and connected to the Danish Embassy. (I had my mailing-address to my work, since I at that time lived in a collective.)
In some banks, like Pakistan International Bank, you even have to pay US$ 100,- to close the account.

So . . . Now I had this check from UK I wanted to cash in HSBC.
They can not cash a closed check unless you have an account in their bank. It cost LE 3000,- (US$ 521,74) to open an account. If you don’t have the money to open an account, then you can not get your money ! ! ! ! ! !
How stupid is that???
Have you ever heard anything like that before! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Is it like that in your country; where-ever you live in the world!?
I have never experienced anything even similar to this before, any place on earth, and I have by now traveled the earth quite well.

I didn’t get my money! ! ! ! ! . . . I had to send the check back again! . . . I lost my money!

Here in Egypt, it cost between US $ 500,- 1000,- to open an account. I have never experienced that before neither, that you have to pay to open an account. Do you have to pay to open an account in your country???

Tell me . . . Have I come to monkey-land or not???

It is no way that I want to open a new account in Egypt after these experiences, but I most certainly have the right to get my money and to cash any pay-check coming from any place in the world.
Am I right or wrong?

Sometimes, I am so engrossed by the stupidity, the lack of common sense, logical sense or ordinary individual line of thought and understanding, so I do wonder if this is genetically or educationally stupidity. If it is educationally, where do they learn to become that stupid?

Please . . . . I hope as many as possible will comment on this post. Even if you do it anonymous. Only remember to tell the country you are in.
It is important to me. . . . Thank you.


Hammer said...

Here you can go to the same bank name and cash it othereise you need an account.

We also have check cashing stores that take 2% to cash it.

I think it's terrible what you have gone through. If you have a trusted friend you can sign the check over and have them cash it.

Infinitesimal said...

In the US, if you go to the bank that issued the check, and you have proper ID, they are supposed to give you your money. I think it is possible that they find an excuse not to, but for the most part, they do cash them. If you have no account, but have a paycheck, you can also go to a "check cashing store" which will cash your check (with proper ID) for a fee, usually a percentage, like minimum of $10.00 charge, but no more than 3% of a large check or something like that...

Did you think to ask a friend to cash it for you? Over here, you can sign the check over to a friends name and account, and they can give you the money from their bank.

But the real problem, is that if you do not have good credit, you cannot get a bank account, and so poor people end up always paying a check cashing store to cash their paychecks.

It is a shame the bank would not cash your check. It sounds like they are discriminating against women over there.

You need a lawyer.
Move out of Egypt if you can, come to America, at least you will have your checks cashed!

Infinitesimal said...

By the way, it costs nothing to open an account, but somtimes if you are poor, they make you keep 100- 500 dollars in the savings, but it is still your money. they draw on it only if you write a bad check.

Lexcen said...

I suggest you find a branch of a Swiss Bank in Egypt and do business with them. Nothing upsets me more than losing money.

Jeannie said...

In Canada, you need to deposit something - only a small amount to open an account. Your pay cheque would be fine. It costs nothing to open an account but then you pay bank fees monthly depending on the type of account and how much activity you have. I think anyone can have some sort of account but not all can write cheques. Some limit the amount you can take out at one time.
You sure have had a hard time of it.

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

Infintecimal: I tried to let a friend put the money into his account, but they refused. They said it had to be in an account in MY name.
I tried to transfere the money into an account I have in another country. They refused that too!!!!

Lexcen: you forget one thing ... it is EGYPTIAN brain-dead people working in that bank too.

The Phosgene Kid said...

Time to move.

Vancouver mermaid/Montreal photographer said...

Hi again,

Just wanted to drop by and give you the heads up...I'll be changing my blog to private. If you'd like to be able to still access it, just let me know, I can add your email to my 'approved' readers list.

If not, take care blog-buddy,


Kirsten N. Namskau said...

Phos: Yeah .... You say something...

Michelle: Sure I would like to continue the contact. Ad me on...take care

Cazzie!!! said...

That is an awful event that happened to you. Yes, you are right, you just cannot help dumb.

The Phosgene Kid said...

Hope you got your bank straightened out!

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

cazzie: you right, I've given up

Phos: Naw, I don't know what to do

jin said...

I really don't have much good to say about the banks here, either. They take extreme advantage of women in small businesses. I have changed banks numerous times due to ridiculous fees they take directly out of our accounts. I need to change again, I always hope I will hit an honest one...but it's such a HASSLE to change everything! I hate that we are forced to use banks to survive...matters not what country you are in, if you don't have a bank account you'll have trouble.

I do hope your situation works itself out. You are certainly entitled to that check being cashed for you!

Anonymous said...

Kirsten, I agree with Lexcen. But check the contract: "Swiss" should not just show up in the name. The mother house of the bank and its place of jurisdiction should be in Switzerland. Only then, the clerks who run the local office have to meet Swiss standards. I can assure you that handing money to a foreigner in the queue behind you is an absolute no go in Swiss banks. It would get the clerk as well as his manager in serious trouble. Same for overwriting a bank account to someone who cannot show your written and accredited mandate. However, safety comes not for free. You will need a basic amount to open the account, and the fees are not cheap. The basic amount is small in Switzerland, but I do not know about the Egyptian offices.

Alternatively, you might have a look at Western Union. I use it regularly to send money to Middle Eastern countries and find it safe and fast. But the fees are high, especially for substantial amounts.

Good luck!

curmudgeon said...

Just a couple notes to add to Infinitesimal's comments.

In America, if a bank had pulled any of the tricks you mentioned, they would be heavily fined and run out of business. We have an agency here called the "Office of the Comptroller of Currency" who closely monitors and regularly audits every legitimate bank in the country. I have dealt with these people before and they are pitbulls when it comes to minding other people's money.

On top of all that, there are so many banks in this country that they are very competitive. It is quite easy to find a bank that will open an account for free as well as provide their services for free.

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

Hammer: I tried to sign it over to a friend of mine, but they denied it. It HAD to be transferred into an account in MY name.
(Sorry, your comment came in late. It didn't come in my mail-box, and the blog didn't show that I had comment on the dashboard befor today)

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

Anonymus: I'm not sure if it is any Swiss-bank here in Egypt.
I think I eventually have to go abroad any place to open an account. (SIGH)

Curmudgeon: As I know, it is like that all over Europe too.
Although I have had the same problems in Norway, where people took over my account and money with false document and signature. That was in a brand called "Den Norske Credit-bank" and I never got it back ... No matter what I did.

Anonymous said...

Kirsten, I would not be surprised to find a Swiss bank on the moon :)

In Cairo, you might call at UBS (Corniche el Nil) or at Credit Swiss in Giza (Ibn Shamar). I do not know about their products in Egypt. But they are traditional Swiss banks with a reputation to loose. They cannot afford to cheat their customers.

Good luck again.

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

Anonymus: Thanks for your concern, I will contact one or both of them and see what comes out of it.