Your bank is not your friend

Banks around the world all have one thing in common. Their main goal is to make money off you in any way they can.

Israeli banks are no different. They are going to charge you an arm and a leg unless YOU put a stop to it. Did you know that Israeli banks charge you for every single transaction you do? This refers to your simple עמלת שורה transactions like withdrawing cash, depositing a check or wire transfers. As of April 2014 the banks are required to allow you to choose a fixed plan for transactions from 10-25 shekel depending on how many transactions a month you do.

If you don’t know how much you are paying a month on fees, log in to your bank account and under דוחול (reports) download your פירוט עמלות to see how much you have paid during a particular period of time.

Bank’s best clients
If you pay your bills on time, don’t go into debt, and never take a loan, your bank likes you but you aren’t their favorite. Who do the banks like best? Banks love anyone who can be convinced to take a loan. Students that may need a loan to cover school costs, anyone who is always in (mild, controlled) overdraft or anyone who might just want to remodel their kitchen. Banks want you to be in debt so they can gain the interest. They also like public service employees since they are unlikely to be fired and have a fixed income.

The fixed plan mentioned above does not include the monthly charge you pay for your credit card. These charges can be anywhere from 12-20 shekel a month per card. That’s at minimum 144 shekel a year, which could otherwise buy at least 20 liters of milk. Call your bank and ask them to forgive this fee. If they don’t, find a credit card company not connected to your bank.

Now what banks don’t like to share is that they all offer different types of “free” accounts where you wont pay for the basic transaction for a few years just by simply having a paycheck coming in. Some of the banks might only offer it to you if you are a new client.

Ways to get rid of some of the fees
There are times that the bank will “fight” to get new customers and they will offer a limited time offer for new customers to join. From no basic fees for 3 years, a “free” loan and other goodies.

Here are a few examples that different banks offer. (We have no connection and get nothing by showing this other than helping you.)

Almost all banks offer an online account – meaning there is no physical branch. They all offer no fees for basic transactions and others. Be aware that if you are a US citizen this type of account might be off limits to you by the bank.

If you’re a teacher, medical professional , high tech employee, lawyer, etc, many banks may give you a few years with no basic fees and extra benefits – but only if you ask for it. Check your bank’s website to see what benefits they offer. 


Your bank is a business and its goal is to make money. Just like everything else in Israel is negotiable, so are your bank fees. Speak to your bank and get your fees lowered or eliminated. Every 20-40 shekel a month you can save on your bank fees can be invested or cover some milk and eggs. If your bank refuses to negotiate, leave. You do not need to stay loyal to your bank just because you’ve always been there.

How did you choose your current bank? Have you ever switched Israeli banks?

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