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How to send money to Israel
Your guide to quick, easy and affordable remittances to Israel.
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.
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What's in this guide?
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 specialists
Most major US banks can conduct transfers between the US 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 November 26, 2019.
|Bank transfer||Cash transfer||Money transfer service|
|Fee||$45 + additional correspondent bank fees||$30||$3.99|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 3.2319 ILS||1 USD= 3.446 ILS||1 USD = 3.467 ILS|
|Transfer speed||2-4 days||Minutes||1-2 days|
|Amount received||ILS 16,014||ILS 17,126||ILS 17,321|
The bank option is slow and results the least amount of money 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 195 more shekels and it gets there faster than a bank transfer.
Foreign exchange rates explained
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 US dollar, you can send at least two to three shekels for every dollar 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 the US 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.
- Checks. Another option is to get an international guaranteed check from your bank and mail it overseas.
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 in our money transfer table.
- 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.
What to watch out for with Israeli money transfers
Check if these situations apply to you before sending money to Israel:
- If you maintain bank accounts in both Israel and the US, you may have to file the Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts form in the US.
- A transfer of 50,000 or more Israeli new shekels — or the foreign currency equivalent — is reported to the Israeli Tax Authorities and the US through the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
While some transfers may be considered foreign gifts and won’t be subject to taxes, you still need to file the necessary forms with your taxes or face penalties.
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.Back to top
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