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A few days after making Aliya you will be asked to schedule a meeting with Misrad Haklita to discuss your sal klita, the benefits new olim receive. At this meeting, you will be asked to present documentation from an Israeli bank showing your account details, so they can start depositing monthly payments as part of your sal klita.

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


To take with you to open an account:

  1. Your Teudat Zehut and that of a joint account holder(if you do not have one yet your Teudat Oleh should suffice).
  2. Cash or check to make a deposit into your new account and thus activate it. Misrad Haklita is unable to transfer sal klita payments to an inactive account.
  3. “Note of Future Bank Account” that you will have received at the airport.
  4. Time!! There are many forms to sign and much information you should ask and receive. It is highly recommended that you go to the bank to open your account at least one hour before they close and be prepared to wait.

What you will be receiving:

  1. A booklet with all of your account terms and conditions, including your bank account number and branch details.
  2. Instructions for online banking, if you request access to it.
  3. Phone banking access details.
  4. Copies of forms and terms for a credit card.
  5. “Note of Future Bank Account” gets stamped; retain this paperwork for Misrad Haklita.

Important notes:

  1. Each person who will appear on the bank account (i.e. your spouse) must be present with his or her documentation when you open the account.
  2. Most credit cards are issued via your bank. You can order your first card when you open your account. (You will probably need to put aside a deposit to be eligible for a card). A credit card also acts as an ATM card, so you don’t need both.
  3. When you order checkbooks they take 3 days to arrive, and you must pick them up at the bank. Each bank branch works separately, if you want to pick up checkbooks or anything else at a different branch than the one you opened your account in, you must notify your branch.
  4. Choose the bank and branch you open your account in wisely. During your first few months of Aliyah you are likely to need to make several transactions at your bank, so it’s a good idea to choose one close to where your live or work.
  5. If you are depositing a small sum of cash, I recommend depositing NIS. It can be relatively expensive to deposit a small sum of foreign currency, and the bank will also charge you to convert to it NIS.
  6. Bank accounts have many compartments. The account you open has the ability to hold foreign currency, savings plans and more.
  7. When you are looking for a mortgage you can take one from any bank; it does not need to be the same bank where you have your current account.
  8. Bankers can’t give you information on the phone unless you have a phone code. I recommend requesting one when you open the account.
  9. For a glossary of terms.
  10. The Bank of Israel is not a commercial bank.
  11. I am always asked about Bank Igud as it’s known for not having checking account fees. That is only if you have a monthly salary coming in from an employer.

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.