Israel Money Transfers
People who reside part-time or full-time in Israel often have a need to move funds from overseas to Israel. These money transfers can be a single large amount, or a series of smaller amounts. What they have in common is that Israel money transfers always have some cost involved.
For smaller amounts of cash and credit card purchases, it is best to arrange things with the bank in your country of origin before coming to Israel. Many banks in the USA offer privileges, such as use of credit cards without foreign transaction penalties. The exchange rate on credit card transactions is usually fair, and the customary protections still apply when used outside the country of issue. It is best to check with your bank’s credit card department to be sure you have the features that suit your needs, and to learn how to keep the bank informed of your travels so transactions in Israel do not trigger security warnings or declined transactions.
Credit cards are not necessarily the best way to get cash in Israel, because they are considered a cash advance by the credit card issuer, and may be subject to fees and interest charges. However, many banks offer the ability to use ATM machines (Kaspomat) transactions while in Israel. An ATM card with no out-of-network fees will allow you to use any bank’s ATM to withdraw cash. It is important to verify that the account allows foreign ATM use without penalty. Because the cash is withdrawn in Shekels (NIS), the bank handling your account will charge a fee for the currency conversion. This fee is usually in the form of a small adjustment to the conversion rate. The good news is that the adjusted conversion rate generally includes the lowest fees available.
Private money changing services exist throughout Israel, and are usually identified with “Change” in their signage. Most also mention no fee, but this does not mean the exchange is at no charge. The exchange rate is adjusted slightly in favor of the money changing service. These services may be the best option for people without strong banking connections in other countries, those wishing to cash a local or foreign check, or those exchanging cash between currencies.
Banks in Israel offer currency exchange and foreign transfer services, but it may be wise to be seated before asking about the charges. Banks often have high fees for receiving funds, may offer a weaker exchange rate, and may also charge a significant fee for converting the funds from other currencies into the local currency, New Israeli Shekels (NIS). There are exceptions, but many people avoid local banks for overseas money transfers and currency exchange.
Overseas banks may offer lower costs for arranging a transfer, and may also perform the currency conversion before the transfer. The local bank in Israel will likely charge a fee to receive the NIS funds into your account, but the exchange rate and currency conversion costs are charged only on the sending bank side.
Money transfer services are a popular choice for larger amounts. Fees are often significantly lower than those of banks in Israel or overseas. Because these are not banking institutions, they do not offer the same legal protections as credit cards or banks. However, there are Israel money transfer companies of long standing and excellent reputation. It is important to research and choose a service carefully. Our long experience with property transactions and overseas fund transfers can prove very valuable, and may provide significant savings. Feel free to contact us with your questions about Israel money transfers.
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