Where Can I Cash My Stimulus Check in Israel?

Many US citizens in Israel are receiving Stimulus Checks from the American government and looking for the most cost-effective way to cash them without mailing them back to the United States.

Today there are a diminishing number of places in Israel that accept American checks. Many Israeli banks will not accept them any more, or if they do they send them back to the States for processing and it can take many weeks to receive the money.  This problem also affects individuals living in Israel who receive US social security checks, tax rebates, and $US dollar checks from friends and family, or who want to cash checks on their U.S. bank accounts in Israel.

In Israel, the banks charge high fees for converting your dollars to Israeli shekels. They make their profist by charging retail exchange rates that are not competitive – often much lower than the exchange rates that you see listed – and charging additional transfer charges and conversion fees on top.

If you take a US dollar or UK sterling check to your Israeli bank, they may charge you hefty fees and it can take up to 4 weeks for the money to reach your account. Banks have a habit of making things more complicated to confuse their customers, and it is not uncommon for unexpected additional transaction fees to be deducted from your account at the end of the month.

So what should you do if you are holding an American dollar check in your hand? You need to choose a reliable financial service provider that is licensed by the Israeli Ministry of Finance. They should disclose all fees and charges up front and offer you a rate that is competitive against the inter-bank Shaar HaMischar wholesale rate (see here for an explanation of the different exchange rates), so that you know exactly what your check is worth. You may decide to hold it for a week and see if the rate improves – no one can predict which way the shekel is moving against the dollar these days – but that choice is yours.

Montrose Change is proud that, throughout this difficult period, it has continued to offer a reliable and professional currency exchange service to all our clients, including processing American stimulus checks at competitive rates. You can opt to receive its value in cash, or the funds can be transferred directly into your Israeli bank account. Call us today to check the day’s rate, and ask us about our payment options and transfer fees.

We look forward to serving you.

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Moving Stories about Moving Money

Businesses and individuals in Israel, including olim and commuters who earn money outside of Israel, often need to transfer money overseas quickly and cost effectively.

We look for optimal solutions to assist individuals and businesses with their overseas transactions and investments – here are just some the people whom we have recently helped:

Overseas Stock Purchase

One of our clients came into the Montrose Change store last week needing to settle on a parcel of shares purchased on the New York Stock Market. He gave us the equivalent amount in Shekels and we immediately transferred U.S. Dollars into his American bank account to facilitate the settlement.

Same Day Transfer

We were approached just before the U.S. holiday period by a commercial client whose business transaction urgently required payment in the States before year-end. As the banks would be shutting down, he couldn’t take the risk that the money might get stuck somewhere. He was happy to pay the $25 immediate transfer fee so that the money would arrive that same day in his U.S. bank account.

Montrose offers a next-day service for $15 and a 3-day transfer service for just $5. This helped another customer wanting to send $1,200 to a family member in the States – they gave us dollars cash and we transferred the money to their U.S. account. Some people even come to us when they do not have money to transfer. One local resident needed $10,000 sent to America to refinance a business loan, so Montrose Securities arranged a second mortgage on his house in Israel as a short-term bridging loan and the money he needed was wired to America.

All Major Currencies

But we don’t only help with American transactions!! Montrose can also transfer money to or from Australia and the UK. If customers bring us Shekels or foreign currency, we can deposit the equivalent sum in their bank account or another account on their behalf. If they need money transferred to Israel from overseas, they can simply organize a bank transfer into the relevant Montrose bank account in America, Australia or the UK, and we will pay them here, either in Shekel cash, check or bank transfer into their Israeli account. Where possible we incorporate any fees into our competitive exchange rates.

Another case was of a customer transferring $100,000 into our Australian account to pay for a deposit on an apartment. The funds were transferred to their Israeli bank account the following day. Another Aussie transferred funds for renovation to his house. Another transferred funds to their relative for a medical emergency and we delivered cash to them to their home in Jerusalem. A local Rabbi as part of his chessed activities regularly transfers funds into our UK account. The funds are issued in cash or transferred directly to the recipient’s bank account.

Olim and people planning Aliyah come to Montrose to discuss the best way to transfer their money to Israel and seek our other mortgage and finance services.

Home Mortgages

Our team can also advise on mortgages in Shekels and foreign currencies, particularly if the customers have overseas income. We are now offering a mortgage brokering service including Currency Combination Mortgages, which can be an excellent hedge against currency fluctuations. For example, we are arranging for an American client, whose income is in U.S. Dollars and Shekels, to buy a property in Israel with a combination Dollar-Shekel mortgage worth 1.2 million NIS with one local bank. The borrower will be able to repay the loan in a mixture of Dollars and Shekels. His Dollar repayments will not be affected by exchange rate movements, so his monthly repayments will remain constant whatever the value of the Dollar.

Many Olim would benefit from a Currency Combination Mortgage or a loan in the same currency as their income or assets. Through Montrose’s excellent business relationship with a number of Israeli banks, we are able to help Olim and Vatikim to make optimal arrangements for loans in a mixture of currencies, not limited to U.S. Dollars.




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