Sending money to the West Bank and Gaza isn’t difficult once you learn the right methods.
The Oslo Accords state that there are three currencies which are legal tender in the Gaza Strip: the Israeli sheqel, the Jordanian dinar and the US dollar. Because the West Bank and Gaza have three different legal currencies, you might have found yourself overwhelmed by which you should send to your loved one. Fortunately, there are multiple money transfer companies and banks that can exchange your US dollars to Israeli sheqels or Jordanian dinars.
Our pick: TransferWise
When you need to send money, benefit from competitive mid-market exchange rates and straightforward fees with TransferWise.
- Fair service fees and mid-market rates — a major market differentiator.
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Case Study: Banks vs. money transfer companies
Elyas Hamati moved to America, but his parents and wife continue to live in the West Bank. Since his family back home depended on him financially, he determined how much he could send overseas, about $1,000 every two months.
While Elyas could use the bank he had an account with for the transfer, he had heard he might get a better deal if he found a money transfer company.
|US bank||Money transfer service|
|Exchange rate||$1 = ILS $2.4822||$1 = ILS $2.6934|
|Amount received for $1,000||ILS $2,422.63||ILS $2,693.40|
|Transfer time||3-5 days||1 day|
|Transfer options||Bank account||Bank account|
|Difference of||ILS $270.77|
Not only did the money transfer company offer Elyas a better exchange rate, it processed his transfer faster and didn’t charge a fee like his bank. He set up an account with the company and was soon able to send money to his family whenever they needed it.
What should I look for when comparing transfer companies?
- Exchange rate and fees. Pay attention to both these factors before initiating a transfer. This is because a company that doesn’t charge a fee might not offer a competitive exchange rate. On the other hand, a highly favorable rate might come with inflated fees. Comparing how much money the recipient stands to receive should give you a clear picture of which deal is better.
- Ways to send money. If you’re sending money through a bank, you may be able to do so at a branch, over the phone or online. Some money transfer companies operate out of physical locations that you can visit to send money in person, and others are only available on the Internet. How you want to send money depends on what’s most convenient for you and your recipient, but there are plenty of options available.
- Ways to receive money. The recipient can receive money directly into their bank account, but you’ll need their bank account details. If they don’t have a bank account or would rather pick up cash in person, there are transfer companies like Western Union that have physical locations where your recipient can collect their money.
- Transfer methods. If you plan to send money periodically, you can consider dealing with a business that lets you schedule regular payments, as this would save you time. If you’re hoping to benefit through fluctuations in the foreign exchange market, you can work with businesses that offer limit orders and forward contracts. Forward contracts allow you to lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later. Limit orders allow you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met.
- Turnaround time. If the transfer involves the recipient collecting money from a cash pickup location, the transfer should go through almost instantly. When transferring money to a bank account, the time taken can vary significantly, depending on the service provide you choose. While some money transfer companies take as little as one day, some banks can take 10 days or more.
- Minimum amount. Some banks and money transfer companies have minimum limits in place, which can be $500 or $1,000.
- Customer service. You may wish to contact a company representative for different reasons. You should ideally be able to do so over the phone as well as via chat and email.
Foreign exchange rates explained
Exchange rates are determined by global economic decisions that impact how much one country’s currency is worth when compared to another currency. A strong currency will yield more money when it’s exchanged for a weaker currency. This amount is bound to change on a daily basis, so compare rates over the past month to see if there are any dominant patterns that might affect your transfer.
How do I send money to West Bank and Gaza from the US?
There are two convenient ways to send money from the US to the West Bank or Gaza.
- Banks. You can find banks in the US that let you send money to West Bank and Gaza. Depending on the bank you choose, you can initiate the process online, in person or over the phone. Bear in mind that the fees you have to pay and the turnaround time can vary from one bank to the next. You can also send an international check, money order or draft via mail.
- Non-banks. International money transfer companies have a physical presence in America as well as West Bank and Gaza. You can use their services to transfer funds to bank accounts or to send money to a cash pickup center. You may also want to look into using an online company like PayPal to make your transfer.
What are the steps to send money to West Bank and Gaza?
When sending money to West Bank or Gaza, the steps you have to follow and the information you have to provide depend on the method you choose.
- Choose a money transfer company from the list above. Be sure to compare the rates, fees and delivery speed before you apply.
- Click Go to Site to begin the transfer process.
- Supply your information and your recipient’s information, including your bank account details if you’re transferring money between them.
- Save your tracking number and receipt. If your recipient is picking up cash, they will need the tracking number to complete the process.
Tips for picking up cash in West Bank and Gaza
Because of frequent power disruptions in the West Bank and Gaza, picking up cash can be dangerous. It’s important that you know the exact route you’re planning on taking, bring a friend if you can and keep your cash hidden. Money transfers may take longer, and there is a risk of violent confrontation at checkpoints. Avoid traffic congestion at areas where options to leave are limited.
Emergency cash transfers in West Bank and Gaza
If a family member is short on rent or needs help paying for a bill, emergency cash transfers are possible but expensive. Because the normal processing time is sped up, you will likely have to pay a large fee and be offered a less optimal exchange rate. Unless it’s truly an emergency, you may want to consider opting for the normal day or two wait for cash transfers. This will save you money and will give your recipient more sheqels or dinars to work with.Back to top