Trade Finance

Six state-owned banks still dominate 95 percent of the commercial market, but numerous private banks now operate in Algeria as well. Western Union services (international money transfers) are also available.

The Khalifa Bank collapse in 2002 shook government confidence in the private banking sector, in spite of the flaws in state-owned banks. As a result, banking reform has progressed incrementally at best. In the wake of the global financial crises of 2007-08, the privatization of the flagship state-owned bank Credit Populaire d’Algerie (CPA) was put on hold indefinitely.

Barriers on outward transfers and an antiquated domestic transfer system pose challenges for investment. Though the central bank is working on creating a system that would permit payments by check and credit cards, this system is still very new and not many vendors have fully embraced this new system. Neither checks nor credit cards are common. ATMs are installed at some locations for limited-use disbursements, and only with cards issued by the local bank, not international credit cards. Algeria remains a cash-based society.