Transfer Money to and From Israel

Do you need to transfer money from Israel and feel like the rates and associated costs are too much? Do you need to move money from a bank account abroad to Israel and the bank finds it difficult to facilitate? Making an Aliyah to Israel or investing in property in Israel? Transferring money to Israel and from Israel can be difficult and expensive but there are bank-alternative services that can help you.

Whether you reside in New York, London, Leeds, Sydney, Tel Aviv or Haifa, you can use our top selections for the best money transfer companies for the Israeli Shekel.

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Best for Transferring Money to Israel

Updated October 2022, all companies listed here work with the Israeli Shekel and are able to transfer money to Israel

Currencies Direct
  • Min Transfer: £/€/$ 100
  • Currencies Supported: 39
  • Offices : UK, EU, USA, India, South Africa.
  • Our Rating : 97.8%
  • Most Global Offices and Reach

    No Fees from Anywhere and Competitive Rates

    96% Client Satisfaction
TorFX
  • Min Transfer: £/€ 100
  • Currencies Supported: 40
  • Offices : UK, EU, Singapore, and Australia.
  • Our Rating : 93.4%
  • High Quality Bespoke Service

    MoneyFact's Best Provider Award

    Over 100 Years of FX Experience Across Its Trading Desk
moneycorp
  • Min Transfer: £/€/$ 50
  • Currencies Supported: 120
  • Offices : UK, EU, Australia, USA, HK, UAE, and South America.
  • Our Rating : 92.8%
  • Business Oriented, Many High Profile Business Customers

    Industry Veteran since 1979

    Diverse Hedging Options and Excellent Guidance

Best for Transferring Money From Israel

Israeli Company with 5+ Years of Experience, Authorised by FCA and Locally by Israeli Ministry of Finance

Located in Israel with Hebrew speaking staff. Accepts both Israeli and European / British clients.
Authorized to operate by  Israeli Ministry of Finance (MOF), and also by the FCA.
Fixed fee of 39 NIS for bank transfers from Israel to anywhere in the world.
Transparent fees and rates – view exactly how much you are going to get before registering. 
Less recognisable brand name than Currencies Direct. Smaller “start-up” operation. More online oriented than large transfers oriented.

 

Costs and Struggle of Transferring money to Israel from Abroad

The Israeli Shekels is considered an exotic currency, and by that definition banks which are already quite expensive when it comes to international money transfers become even more expensive.

To elaborate on the above, if you were to transfer money to Spain from UK or transfer money to France from UK, for example, the bank would hit you with two charges. One being the cost of wire transfer (SWIFT cost) when the second one would be the exchange rate markup i.e. how much worse the exchange rate you will get from GBP to EUR than the actual bank rate provided by Bank of England. As a very rough average a UK bank would charge you £15-20 for the transfer and then about 2.2% in markups, a hefty and unreasonable fees.

Unfortunately, when you are transferring money to Israel from UK, sending money to Israel from USA, or from anywhere else in the world, these two fees tend to grow because the Israeli currency is exotic. Many banks worldwide would charge a higher fee when transferring money to an Israeli bank account from abroad, and similarly and even more importantly they would charge a higher markup on the exchange rate. For American banks for example it would be common to see a margin of 5% when transferring money from USA to UK (USDILS exchange).

Costs and Struggle of Transferring money from Israel Overseas

When transferring money from Israel internationally, banks can be quite cheap or alas, very expensive. It all depends on the terms that you have negotiated with you bank.

To break it down, Israeli banks like Leumi, Ha’Poalim and Mizrahi would charge normally a fixed fee per transfer each transfer abroad from Israel. That fee ranges in the 200 shekels per transfer by default (which amounts to $50-60, €50-60 or £50, depending on the current exchange rate at the time). That is a higher bank transfer fee than charged by any British, European, American or Australian bank that we have tested (including the notoriously expensive-for-international-payments NatWest in UK and CommonWealth in Australia).

Then, Israeli banks still tend to charge you with a “commission” of the total amount transferred. That commission appears low at the 0.2% range normally but it’s just another layer of payment fees that doesn’t exist in most other places in the world.

Additionally, Israeli banks charge a hidden markup that is literally impossible to determine before you have an account with the bank and looking to transfer money from Israel (and even then you really have to know what you’re doing to understand all the costs). That markup by default can be as high as 2% on its own.

In other words Israeli banks can be very expensive for sending money from Israel to UK or anywhere else in the world.

With that being said, Israeli banks are known to negotiate the terms of the their customers and international transfer fees from Israel, as well as other banking fees, boil down to the power of that negotiation. Larger customers with more assets and banking relationship are likely to get a reduction of up to 80% of the cost of transferring money from Israel (and similarly for incoming payments into Israel). In fact, business clients and HNW can get as low as 0.1% or 0.2% margins which beat any money transfer provider in the world.

Popular ILS Routes

Popular currency transfer routes for people visiting this page:

  1. Transfer from UK to Israel (GBP to ILS)
  2. Transfer money from USA to Israel (USD to ILS)
  3. Transfer from Israel to France (ILS to EUR)
  4. Transfer from Israel to Portugal (ILS to EUR)
  5. Transfer from Israel to Romania (ILS to RON)
  6. Transfer from Israel to USA (ILS to USD)
  7. Transfer from Israel to UK (ILS to GBP)
  8. Transfer from Canada to Israel (CAD to ILS)
  9. Transfer from Australia to Israel (AUD to ILS)

Why Send Money To an 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 was a major shift regarding the nationalities of the VCs and angel investors who invest in 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.

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

Why Transfer Money from Israel to USA, UK, 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.