After reading this Israel Money Transfer Guide, you will understand how to get the most out of your currency by knowing how and where to get the best ILS exchange rate for your pound, dollar, Aussie or any other currency. Whether you are sending money to or from Israel, our selected foreign exchange companies will provide the cheapest service and more benefits than any of your local banks (in Israel and outside of Israel).
Best Company To Transfer Money From Israel & To Israel
There are very few global companies that deal with the Israeli shekel and even fewer companies that take on clients from Israel and can accept domestic transfers from an Israeli bank account. Below you can find the two best companies for Israelis transferring money abroad, and overseas transfers to Israel, by either “Olim” or investors.
Best For Transfer From Israel:
Can’t handle clients from Australia, South Africa or Asia – Only Israel, Europe and USA*
HQ in Israel, specializing in Shekel trades
Young and promising startup
Fresh looking website, straightforward registration process
39 NIS Fee for Shekel Transfers + Great rates
Regulated locally in Israel, and also in the UK by the FCA
Best For Transfer To Israel:
No Israeli bank accounts, can’t move money from Israel
HQ in UK, trading 40 different currencies
Established for 20 years, trading £5bn+ a year
Great website, superb support from dedicated dealers
No fee on trades, one of the best rates in the industry
Regulated by the FCA and several other
* Covercy can accept clients from all states excluding New York, Vermont, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon and Hawaii
More of the guide’s topics:
- Today’s Shekel Rates
- Most Popular Reasons to Move Funds into Israel
- Regulation and Limitations
- Clarification about the availability of currency services in Israel (Hebrew)
- 2018 forecast for the Israeli Shekel
Supported Countries & Payment methods
Currencies Direct has one of the largest portfolios of international currencies, so you can rest assured that they cover any location on the planet. Countries like the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, and even China are destinations that they work with every single day. If you want to be sure that they can deliver to your desired location, check out their website for more info. You can fund the transfer by a local bank transfer and debit cards, and make the transaction online (desktop or app) as well as through telephone or email.
Today’s Foreign Exchange Rates for ILS
Why Send Money To Israeli Bank Account
The Israeli new shekel is the national currency of the State of Israel, but it is also used by the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It has been in use since 1 January 1986, when it replaced the old shekel. There is a variety of reasons as for why would you want to transfer money to Israel:
Overseas property investments: the Israeli real estate market has passed the stage where it is “brimming with promise” a long time ago. Since 2001, the Israeli real estate market, in spite of two wars taking place and countless other “fearsome” events which include the ’08 sub-prime crisis, has maintained a great deal of stability and a constant increase in price.
Tel Aviv, in particular, is often put in the same group as the most sought-after cities in the world like Tokyo, London, or New York City. Although the market has slowed down some in 2017 and 2018 in comparison to past years, there are still hundreds of construction projects all across the country which have the potential of returning a superb dual-figure-per-year return.
The Israeli property market has a very strong foothold of foreign investors, and many real estate agencies are operating in foreign languages, as well as law firms. If you are transferring money to Israel from USA, there is a high likeliness that the seller of the property will be an American as well and will be able to accommodate to your requirement.
Investing in startups: Tel Aviv has for some time been nicknamed the ‘Silicon Valley of the Middle East’ (AKA Silicon Wadi) as more and more start-ups are emerging from this city. It has more start-ups per capita than anywhere else, and it has 61 more mature companies listed on NASDAQ. There is a constant flow of interest and money from overseas investors in tapping into this lucrative market.
77% of all the funds raised by Israeli startup companies is originated abroad, with a vast majority of it coming from the USA. In recent years, most notably 2017-2019, there is a major shift regarding the nationalities of the VCs and angel investors who invest into Israeli startups. Hundreds of startups have started looking into China, as in 2018 Chinese firms and individuals participated in 35% of the top funding rounds.
Please note that most Israeli companies raising funds will not require a currency exchange from the Shekel (especially not USDILS exchange). These startup companies would normally hold their cash reserves in U.S dollars.
Tourism: Israel is a hub for many religious tourists. The vast majority of these people are doing an Aliyah—a so-called return to the ‘promised land’, which is exclusively for Jewish people. In 2013 Israel received the most tourists, setting a new record with over 3.5 million, and these records have been broken since then, year by year. Most local hotels in Israel are happy to accept wire transfers from outside of Israel to pay for a booking – it saves money for both the hotel and the customer.
Why Transfer Money from Israel to USA or Elsewhere
Relative to the size of the country and its economy, there is a large number of outbound money transfer transactions from Israel to other locations across the globe. It’s quite common to see Israelis transferring money to USA, UK, France, Spain, or even remote Australia. Below you can find the popular use-cases in which money is being sent from an Israeli bank account abroad:
- Business payments: as Israel is quite a small country it is heavily reliant on international service providers. Making a payment to a company abroad that includes currency exchange of ILS (USDILS, GBPILS, EURILS are the most common pairings) is a very common use-case.
- Personal payments: Israel imports more than $46bn worth of goods. Again it’s the economy of size that forces it to import heavily. As Israeli large importers are known to take excessive margins, many Israelis resort to buying directly from abroad. It’s a big enough business for commerce giant Amazon to expand into there in 2019. While most overseas payments from Israel would be conducted through a credit card or through an e-wallet like PayPal, large payments may be made with a bank wire from an Israeli bank account.
- Remittances: there are well over a million expats globally. It is estimated that there are over a million just in the USA! That is a vast amount of expat for a country with a population of less than 9m people in total. These expats need to transfer their money from USA to Israel often.
- Relatives abroad: Jewish families are known for that close ties even if parts of the family reside across the ocean. Transferring money from Israel to France, USA, and UK is quite often for that purpose.
Thinking Of Relocating To Israel?
If the reason for transferring money from UK, USA or where you currently reside into Israel is because you are thinking of moving to Israel and residing there as an expat, you may find the following information helpful.
Advantages Of Moving To Israel:
- High Level of English: Israelis speak incredible English, which greatly facilitates the transition.
- Thriving Economy: Many expats come here to take advantage of English-speaking job opportunities in Israel and are highly satisfied with their decision.
- Easy to Obtain Nationality for JEWS: Israel has opened its doors to those with Jewish heritage, and you can enjoy the benefits of being a citizen.
Disadvantages Of Moving To Israel:
- Military Service: For those who do nationalize below a certain age, there is a requirement to serve for two years in the military for both male and females. This is a drawback to many prospective expats considering nationalizing.
- Security: While Israel is one of the places that I have felt the safest in the world, it is important to remember that there is a security threat there with tensions in the region.
- Getting a Work Visa is Nearly Impossible: For those who do not have Jewish ancestry, getting sponsored for a working visa is a difficult and prolonged process.
- Political Instability: Countries like Israel are divided between religious extremists and ultra-liberals. This divide makes the political environment highly unstable, and in 2019 the country has failed forming a government after the election, causing at least another election back-to-back.
Personal testimony about moving to Israel:
“I’ve made an Alya to Israel some 20 years ago. I am originally from Nashville, Tennessee, and as you can imagine growing up as a Jew in this environment was tough. I’ve made my mind to move to Israel as a teenager and as soon as I felt I have the financial foundation to make the move, I did it. My fiance Debbie and I pulled the trigger in the early 1990’s without knowing all that much about Israel. All I knew is that I will be among my people, finally, and Debbie knew this is where I would find comfort so she tagged along.
Life in Israel is a lot of fun, and although the notion is somewhat similar to the one you’ll get across America, life is completely and utterly different. Back then, transferring our hard-earned U.S dollars into Israeli Shekels bought us a sense of security, and we were able to afford a home, but it’s not like that anymore for new Olim, unless they are liquidating an expensive asset back home. The people are friendly, nice, and there is a lot more sense of community than you would see in other places.
On the other hand, life is tense. Wars are a part of the mundane routine around here, and it has a direct impact on everything. People are easily ticked off, and driving is insane. In addition to that, Debbie left back to the USA at some point because she felt so incredibly out-of-place. If you are not Jewish and residing here, be prepared to go through hoops every other Tuesday.
Overall, I would recommend to the readers of your website, before they decide to transfer money to Israel, to come for a long vacation and live here for a month or two. This is a great experience but it’s not for everyone”
– Daniel, moved to Israel in the 1990’s
How The Money Transfers Works
Considering that other options for transferring money overseas are quite expensive, many may find it difficult to believe that sending money to Israel for free is even possible, as the Israeli shekel is considered a more exotic currency. It is possible, though, because FX companies actually make their money off of currency exchange rates rather than fees charged to their customers. They make money by helping you to transform your current currency into Israeli shekels.
As these professionals spend most of their days watching the currency markets, they know the best times to make their trades to ensure the best returns. They then pass along the savings to customers who make larger transfers or to those who make frequent transfers.
If free transfers weren’t enough, most FX companies conduct their business over the Internet. This means that their customers can log on to set up transfers, check currency exchange rates, and conduct other business no matter where they are, as long as they have an Internet connection.
Details Needed to Initiate a Transaction:
- Bank Name and Address;
- Swift Code;
- Receiver’s full name and address.
Setting Up The Transfer:
- Create a free account with the chosen company.
- Get a quote from one of the company’s specialist.
- Approve the given quote.
- Fund your account with the necessary amount for the transfer.
- Wait 1-2 days until you get the confirmation from the dealer that the transfer is completed.
Our Company Recommendation:
- Send Money to Israel: Companies that enable people to transfer money to Israel internationally.
- Send Money from Israel: Companies that accepts Israeli Clients.
Regulations on money transfers to and from Israel
Israel’s currency is the new Israeli shekel (ILS). The ILS is fully convertible, making transfers in and out of Israel relatively simple.
The Bank of Israel
The Bank of Israel oversees payment systems, monitors the proper function of financial systems, and works to preserve price stability. Although the Bank of Israel can intervene in monetary markets to ensure the shekel’s stability, its policy is to refrain from foreign currency trading except in the case of drastic shifts.
There are no transfer restrictions on money going in and out of Israel, but large-scale foreign transfers must be reported to the Controller of Foreign Currency.
Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Israel do not require government approval, except in regulated sectors such as banking and insurance.
Taxation on foreign income
Israeli residents are taxed on any foreign income. Non-residents are taxed only on income originating in Israel. Double tax treaties are in place to avoid double-taxation.
List with biggest Israeli banks
- Hapoalim Bank
- Bank Leumi
- Discount Bank
- Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank
- First International Bank
Summary of Contents
There is a limited number of companies enabling you to transfer money to Israel or transfer money from Israel to other countries. We have compared the two best choices we have found. These companies will save a substantial amount of money in comparison to banks which are expensive to begin with, and particularly with an exotic currency like the Israeli Shekel. Don’t let international money transfers to Israel be the hurdle that prevents you from investing in this rock-steady ever-growing economy!