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All Olim dislike paying banking fees, and who can blame you, the banks outside Israel do not charge for every transaction, whereas the banks in Israel do. Your Israeli Banking experience will not be what you had before, in fact you may find the banking service lacking compared to what you were used to and having to pay a list of fees for lacking service can be frustrating.

Yet no matter how annoying the fees can be I do not recommend only choosing a bank on basis of cheaper fees. Sometimes paying a little more for a bank you are happy with can be worth the extra money. in order to know which bank is best for you, go into a few banks before opening an account and see how you feel about the points below. I recommend using these four parameters for choosing a bank:

  1. Service – When you walk into the bank there is a friendly feel, Ok maybe not friendly but you should feel you are being treated decently, by workers who care.
  2. Find a Banker – The bank you choose should have at least one friendly worker, if you do not know Hebrew this should be someone who can talk to you in English, make sure this worker knows you, for next time you walk in with out your ID.
  3. Location – To travel twice as far for a cheaper bank does not make sense, location is important, near home, work or somewhere you pass by anyway.
  4. Fees–  I’m all for spending less money and cutting costs when necessary, but notice this is last. Once you have found a friendly banker, felt you will get service from the bank the fees are next here is a comparison of Israeli Bank fees.  Be sure to sign up for one of the following tracks: The basic track includes up to 10 customer-executed activities and up to one teller-executed activity. The price for the basic service is under supervision and may not exceed NIS 10. The expanded track includes up to 50 customer-executed activities and up to 10 teller-executed activities.

Prices are in NISBasic trackExpanded track
First International926
Otzar Hahayal1027
Bank of Jerusalem00

Otherwise fees, without being on a track are as follows for the more common banks:

BankTransaction feeTeller FeeMonthly Fee
Yahav1.20 NIS4 NIS4 NIS
Leumi1.65 NIS5.5 NIS11 NIS
Hapoalim1.35 NIS6.5 NIS13 NIS
Discount2 NIS5.9 NIS11.8 NIS
Mizrachi1.76 NIS6.8 NIS13.6 NIS
Igud2.9 NIS5.9 NIS11.8 NIS
Mercantile2 NIS6.4 NIS12.8 NIS
Pagi2.5 NIS6.5 NIS13 NIS

Monthly Fee = Minimum fee they will charge per month. This includes within it the transaction fee. If you have 10 transactions at 2 NIS = 2*10 = 20 NIS of fees, you are above the minimum fee, you will only pay the 20 NIS.

Fee per check book 9 NIS – at all the banks(Some banks offer a discount when ordered on line) 25 checks in a check bookThis covers most of the banks but not all. When opening a new account ask if they have any special deals for new accounts.

Overdraft protection 12 NIS – 27 NIS depending on the bank- charged per quarter. If you go into overdraft you will additionally be charged interest

Transaction fee – you are charged for every transaction in your account, every check, cash withdrawal etc are subject to this fee.

Teller Fee – Charged when you do a transaction via the Teller (rather than at the bank machine).

For the in-depth user guide to Israeli banking, don’t forget to buy a copy of Smarter Israeli Banking.

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Rifka Lebowitz

Financial consultant, author, public speaker, and founder of a 35,000 member Facebook group called Living Financially Smarter in Israel. I’m passionate about helping English speakers understand their finances, feel comfortable with their money, and succeed financially – in Israel.