Bank Account in US / Canada
Although your heart, body and soul will be in Israel, it is likely that part of your money will not be. Due to technology and the globalization of life and business, more and more olim are maintaining accounts in both “the old county” and in Israel – and this is a reasonable approach.
If you plan to maintain your business in the North America, this will necessitate careful planning to ensure an optimum banking system is in place before your flight. So, before making aliyah meet with your banks branch manager to discuss your needs and explore your options. Get his email address and direct phone number. Your bank manager can be a valuable asset when you are 6,000 miles away. They will not break bank policy for you, but will do what they can to get your needs met and answer important questions.
Provided are some thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on maintaining your personal bank account:
- This will allow you to receive or pay for your annual income taxes
- Your banks debit card will allow you to make purchases in North America and even in Israel, however you might have to get your card cleared for overseas purchases first
- Online banking will allow you to easily issue checks for local (USA) payment
- Banks can receive and deposit checks on your behalf (confirm with your bank)
If you do not use your bank account for a number of month in a row, the bank may charge a monthly service fee. If you decide you will be closing down your account after your aliyah, ask your branch manager how to do it from abroad (typically you need to be present in the branch).
The Israeli Banker is Your Friend
Banking is Israel is not like banking in the US or Canada, in fact it is quite different. Your account representative is your friend – it is a much, much more personal level. If fact, your account information may not even be available at another branch of your bank. When you have banking questions or needs, you need to work with you banker directly.
Here is a sample of what your Israeli banker can/will do for you:
- Set up an account for both currencies – foreign and domestic
- Provide you with a loan for a few thousand dollar in about 15 minutes
- Contact you if there is any irregular activity with your account
- Provide you with an overdraft cushion, allowing you to still make purchases, even when your account dips below a zero balance (there is a good percentage of the Israel populace that lives at the zero level)
The down side to all this customer service and account flexibility is that Israeli banks charge for almost any and all services. For example, it might cost less to withdrawal money from the ATM machine in the lobby then it would be to withdrawal funds from the counter.
Transferring Money Between Countries
Moving money between North America and Israel can be a costly and time consuming process. For example, when depositing a check for under $1000 in an Israeli bank, it will take about 10 days before the funds clear, and the bank’s commission rate (for receiving and converting the funds) can be rather steep. Checks over $1000 can take about one month to clear.
There is another solution to moving funds from one country to another and that is through Forex Israel, a foreign exchange company. Their turnaround times are a fraction of normal banks and the commission rates are superior. Forex Israel allows you to process any grant checks you may receive along with your aliyah quickly and smoothly.
Transferring Money to Israel?
Forex Israel is a foreign exchange company providing the transfer of funds from the UK, Canada and United States to Israel with excellent rates and at a fraction of the time.
You can transfer your foreign currency (USD, CAD, GBP) to Israeli shekel, or keep it in the foreign currency, and have it deposited in your Israeli account seamlessly.
Service representatives are English-speaking and are great people to work with. Want to learn more? Send us an email and we will have a representative contact you.
FYI : IRS – FBAR Form
Heads up! The Internal Revenue Services requires the submission of an FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) form when your overseas assets are in excess of $10,000.