Exchanging Money in Israel

Moving to Israel is a challenging but rewarding life-changing experience, but changing your money to Israeli Shekels can be complicated. Montrose Change provides you with top rates and charges minimal fees, giving you greater value for your money.

In Israel, the banks charge high fees for receiving international money transfers and for converting your currency to Israeli Shekels. The receiving fee is calculated as a percentage, which for large sums will be a significant amount of money.

Here are some examples:

Bank

Receiving Fee

Exchange Fee

Bank Pagi under $200: $12,
over $200: 0.175%
under $100: $3,
over $100: 0.175% with $6.25 minimum
Bank Hapoalim under $100: $3.50,
$100-$200: $8.50,
over $200 0.19% with $30 minimum.
under $50: $3.30,
$50-100: $5.50,
$100+: 0.19%

(Based on data supplied by the banks, January 2013)

There are four exchange rates which banks in Israel use to convert incoming currency into Israeli Shekels:

  • Shaar HaYetzig – the closing rate set at 4.30pm each working day by the Bank of Israel.
  • Shaar HaMischar – the real-time middle rate between the Shaar HaMechira and the Shaar HaKnia, which may be higher or lower than yesterday’s Yetzig.
  • Shaar HaMechira – the retail price for which banks sell currency (higher than the Shaar HaMischar)
  • Shaar HaKnia – the retail price at which banks buy currency (lower than the Shaar HaMischar)

The rates that you see listed in newspapers and on websites will be either the Shaar HaYetzig from the day before, or the current Shaar Hamischar, but banks and money changers will not change money at either of these rates.  Rather they will use a retail Shaar HaMechira rate (for selling currency) and a retail Shaar HaKnia rate (for buying currency), which are calculated and updated based on either today’s Shaar HaMischar or yesterday’s Shaar HaYetzig, depending on the policy of the bank. These retail rates may well be lower than the rate you have seen listed, and less competitive than the rates offered by money changing businesses.

Your bank may also charge an additional conversion fee on top and if you decide to keep the money in a currency account without changing it, they will charge you service fees for your currency balance (and no, it will not earn interest!).

Instead of arranging a bank transfer, if you take an overseas bank check to your Israeli bank, they may charge a hefty fee and it may take up to 4 weeks for your 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 transaction fees to be deducted from your account at the end of the month.

Today, Israeli banks are likely to ask for proof of the source of the funds that you are transferring into your account, and they can freeze the transaction and withhold your money until they are satisfied. This can cause enormous problems if you need the money for a property purchase or down-payment and the banks refuse to release your funds.

Our customers avoid such problems and save significant sums when exchanging money with Montrose Change because we convert your currency into Israeli Shekels at a competitive rate based on the Shaar HaMischar rate at the time of the transaction. We can either pay the money directly into your Israeli bank account, free of charge, or provide it in cash as you prefer. Contact us today for details.