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Compare transfer options for sending money to Israel
How do international money transfers work?
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 US dollars 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 companies/services
Most major US banks can conduct transfers between the US to 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.
Tom sends money to IsraelTom is working and living in the US and wants to send $5,000 home to Israel to support his parents. Eager to ensure that as much of his money makes it to his parents as possible, Tom compares the fees and exchange rates of his bank and an online money transfer company. The results of his comparison are shown in the table below:
|Bank||Money transfer company|
|Exchange rate||$1 USD = $3.66 ILS||$1 USD = $3.75 ILS|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Bank account deposit|
|Processing time||2 to 4 business days||2 business days|
|Amount received (in Israeli New Shekels)||18,300 ILS||18,750 ILS|
As you can see, not only can Tom save $10 in fees when he sends his funds with a money transfer company, he can also send an extra 450 shekels to his parents.
What are my transfer methods?
- 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 the US to Israel.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send funds overseas that can be picked up from thousands of agent locations across Israel.
- Checks. Another option is to get an international guaranteed check from your bank and mail it overseas.
Foreign exchange rates explainedExchange rate is used to determine how much a currency is worth when converted to 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 good rate. But because the Israeli shekel is weak against the US dollar, you should be able to send at least two to three shekel for every dollar you spend. As of September 2018, the exchange rate was about 3.61 ILS per 1 USD.
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:
- Check out your options on the money transfer table.
- Click Go to site when you’ve found a suitable option.
- Register with the 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
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 good exchange rates. Compare your options before committing to be sure you’re choosing the right provider for your needs.
Tips for picking up cash in Israel
Exercise a high degree of caution when picking up cash. Keep your money hidden, avoid any questionable parts of town and deposit the cash you pick up into your bank account as soon as possible. You may also want to bring a friend along to provide an extra set of eyes, especially if you’re picking up a sizable amount of shekels.
Using a credit card in Israel
Israel has one of the most widely-traded currencies out there. You’ll have access to plenty of options with low fees and good 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. And check out our guide to money transfers to get an idea on the general process before you start making transfers.