how to bring gift money to Israel

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Dec 15th, 2013, 09:28 AM
  #1
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how to bring gift money to Israel

I am going to wedding in Israel and plan on giving $1000 as a gift. I don't know how to bring the money with me in a safe way, I thought to take dollars with me and convert to local currency in Israel, but then I would have to keep cash with me as I travel a bit before the event (not a good idea), plus I don't know if people can carry cash across the border. Can I get an Israeli pre-loaded debit card while I am still at home in US? That would be an ideal thing. Any ideas would be much appreciated.
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Dec 15th, 2013, 11:38 AM
  #2
 
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Consider a 'check' for the happy couple. They'll deposit it same as they would in your home country. If you want it exactly $1K, check the current exchange rate, so you add or deduct any difference. Or check with the family if the couple has a USD account... most do.

You won't have to write out the check till you arrive in-country.
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Dec 15th, 2013, 11:00 PM
  #3
 
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A cheque is a bad idea because Israeli banks charge a high fee for cashing or depositing cheques issued by foreign banks. I suggest that you withdraw shekels from an ATM when in Israel. Check the withdrawal fees with your credit card company or bank.
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Dec 16th, 2013, 01:50 AM
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Seconding mbgg's suggestion - a check is not a good idea, unless you know that they have a bank account overseas. They will not be able to cash a dollar check here and the fees it will cost them to go through with depositing it in a bank here and then converting, etc. will be ridiculous.

Either bring cash or simple withdraw shekels from an ATM here, even if it takes a few days and a few transactions to reach the amount you want.
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Dec 16th, 2013, 10:59 AM
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... why I suggested they verify whether the couple has a USD account.

We send USD checks regularly to Israel and recipients don't pay outlandist fees... maybe $25. Other times have 'wired' funds and likewise, fees are rather small.

REMEMBER - do NOT use your credit card to withdraw shekels from ATM. Your home back sees this as 'cash' and finance charges apply immediately. Use a 'debit/ATM' card for this and as above determine whether your home/US bank charge fees for doing so in foreign countries.
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Dec 16th, 2013, 10:50 PM
  #6
 
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Israeli banking regulations regarding foreign currency checks have changed recently. It didn't used to be a big deal and you could even cash a foreign check rather easily - now the situation is completely different. That is why the warning to find some other way to get the money to the recipients.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 05:37 AM
  #7
 
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$1000 is 10 bills. I would put it in a money belt around my waist. It is not bulky. Since dollars can be easily changed at Change-point places I would just give the couple the cash. They can change it, without ID if they want--and if the are traveling overseas--dollars are better than shekels. BTW it is totally legal to bring the money in. I believe the limit is $10,000--so you are not doing anything illegal.
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Dec 22nd, 2013, 07:46 AM
  #8
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Thanks for all your suggestions
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