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.