The Israeli shekel is frequently traded on international markets, which means you have quite a few options for sending money to those living in Israel. By taking the time to compare transfer fees, exchange rates and turnaround, you can find a good deal that won’t break the bank.
International money transfers allow you to send money to a recipient in Israel by providing money to a bank or independent money transfer company, which then converts your euros to Israeli shekels. This can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online, and you can use cash, a credit card or transfer funds from your bank account. Depending on the provider, your recipient can either pick up the cash in person or have it deposited into their bank account.
Banks versus money transfer specialists
Most banks can conduct transfers between Ireland and Israel, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. You’ll generally be charged higher fees and be offered a lower exchange rate when you opt for a bank transfer.
Often, you can get a better deal if you use the services of a specialist money transfer company. Instead of offering a wide range of financial products and services as banks do, money transfer companies focus entirely on moving money internationally. They offer lower fees and better exchange rates than banks, and many allow the transactions to be quickly and conveniently made online.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending €5,000 to Israel
To get an idea of costs, let’s compare numerous transfer options and associated fees. This table uses real fees and exchange rates and is current as of 6 May 2020.
Money transfer service
€20 + additional correspondent bank fees
1 EUR = 3.2319 ILS
1 EUR= 3.6564 ILS
1 EUR = 3.7685 ILS
Slowest and most expensive
The bank option is slow and results in the least amount of money being sent to your recipient. If speed is crucial, the cash transfer combines value with nearly instant turnaround. If you decide to go with a money transfer service, your recipient ends up with just over 400 more shekels and it gets there faster than a bank transfer. Although the fees are high, the exchange rate from the money transfer service trumps both the bank and the cash transfer service.
An exchange rate is used to determine how much a currency is worth when converted into a different currency. Most currencies are flexible, so they won’t be worth the same amount day to day or month to month. If you want a good deal, you’ll have to keep an eye out for a strong rate. But because the Israeli shekel is weak against the euro, you can send at least two to three shekels for every euro you spend.
What are my transfer method options?
Bank transfers. You can send funds from your bank account to the account of your recipient in Israel.
Online money transfer providers. Companies like CurrencyFair allow fast and affordable online transfers from Ireland to Israel.
Money transfer companies with cash pick-up options. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send funds overseas that can be picked up as cash from thousands of agent locations across Israel.
How to send money to Israel
As you can see, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to finding the best way to send money to Israel. While the exact transfer method will differ depending on the provider you choose, these are the basic steps you’ll need to follow:
When you’ve found a suitable option, click Go to site.
Register with that provider.
Supply your information and your recipient’s information.
Pay for your transfer.
Save your tracking number to follow up on your transfer.
Emergency transfers to Israel are possible, and because the Israeli shekel is so widely traded, you may even be able to send money to your recipient within a few hours without having to pay high fees. However, you’ll still want to be careful. Not every company offers quick speed, low fees and strong exchange rates. Compare your options before committing to be sure you’re choosing the right provider for your needs.
Tips for picking up cash
Exercise a high degree of caution when picking up cash, no matter where in Israel you are. Be sure to:
Keep your money hidden.
Avoid any questionable parts of town.
Deposit the cash you pick up into your bank account as soon as possible.
Bring a friend along to provide an extra set of eyes, especially if you’re picking up a large sum of shekels.
Israel has one of the most widely traded currencies out there. You’ll have access to plenty of options with low fees and competitive exchange rates, which means you’ll have to take extra care to be sure you’re going with a provider that really caters to your needs. Read our guide to money transfers to get an idea of the general process before you send your next remittance.
Adrienne Fuller is the head of publishing at Finder US. With a decade of experience creating guides in finance and education, she aims to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. For the past 3 years she has been the publisher of money transfers, helping readers save when they send money all over the globe. She has a BA from Colorado College and loves to hike with her two Catahoula dogs around her home in San Diego.
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