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Rifka Lebowitz - Financial ServicesThe banking system and day to day Banking in Israel are very different to elsewhere and it can take time to get used to banking – Israeli style. Here is some important information and tips for making the most of your bank account in Israel.

1. Find a bank worker who can help you out. Many banks have someone who has good or even excellent English, and they can help explain many of the banking terms to you. It is important to have someone in your bank who knows you- this is very useful if for example you forget your ID.

2. Credit cards actually function as debit cards, most credit cards in Israel will charge your bank account once a month making them easier to track than cheques or cash, make sure you have money available in your account on the date they are charged.

3. Banks are usually open during the morning hours and 2 afternoons a week, although the days and times will vary. – Some branches are closed on either Friday or Sunday – so take note of the specific opening hours of your bank. You can use internet banking 24 hours a day.

4. You are charged for everything you do – including withdrawing money – so withdraw for a fortnight rather than every few days. Each transaction or “line” on your statement costs you money.

5. In order to save yourself money deposit money via the special envelopes,or machines and withdraw money from an ATM The bank charges are higher if your transaction was done with a teller.

6. Foreign Currency can be kept in your normal account, but it is in a different section. Some bank branches hardly deal with Foreign currency cheques, if you will need this service frequently, make sure your bank will process the cheques in a reasonable time frame. There is a fee for having a foreign currency section, so if you only have a small amount it might be better to change the money into shekels.

7. It is your responsibility (in most cases) to make sure you have the funds available in the right compartment of your account.For example when you write a cheque you will need to make sure there are funds available to cover the cheque in your current account. If your money is in a savings section you will need to move it to the current account to ensure the cheque clears.

For more tips – see this great article Rivkah Lambert Adler posted after hearing one of my banking lectures.

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.