I participate in several email lists, two of which are the Nefesh B'Nefesh list and the Tachlis list. On those lists there has been much talk lately of banks and bank fees. I did quite a bit of research on many of the banks in Israel, using the Bank Of Israel website and asking many questions of my friends who have been living here for a long time. Of course, I did discover what everyone told me: banks here seem to be in the business of parting one from one’s money, rather than in the business of helping one save one’s money. That they have access to our funds and can invest and earn money on our money seems to mean nothing to them.
Yes, I did discover that the four major banks do charge fees for EVERY transaction. And yes, you CAN negotiate with them. BUT…if one limited one’s research to just those four banks, then one would be getting a rather incomplete picture of the banking scene in Israel. In my research I was told by a friend that Bank Yahav offers free banking. Said friend does not have an account with this bank and I really do not understand that. He is banking with one of the big four – supposedly because all his business accounts are with them.
Today, I decided to check out Bank Yahav. I went to Bank Yahav at Modiin Center in …where else? Modiin, of course! I asked to speak with Jeremy Billauer. His name was given to me by said friend. Jeremy is a very nice young man, he speaks English very well. He made aliyah with his family when he was seven, so he sounds like an Israeli.
This is what I found out: Bank Yahav DOES offer free banking. For Olim Chadashim the first year is free regardless of your situation. After that first year, in order to continue with free banking one must meet the following requirements:
1. Your salary must be direct deposited into their bank
2. Your monthly salary must be 5K NIS or more
For that you will receive totally free banking, no fees, a debit card, a bank card. If you want a credit card, if you have not been in Israel long enough you will be required to deposit a sum into the account equal to the amount of credit you wish to have as collateral. After you establish good credit that may not be required.
Students take notice: Students (full time university) can receive free banking with no income required!
I cannot imagine why ANYONE would choose to use any of the four big banks with all their fees….if one could get free banking.
I hope this information is helpful to those of you making aliyah or who have made aliyah and are looking for more info about banking....