Please set me straight about ATM's in Israel

May 23rd, 2005, 06:30 AM
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Please set me straight about ATM's in Israel

My son will be travelling in Israel this summer. He has an ATM card hooked up to a savings account, not a checking account. I read an old post here and have heard that the only cards that work in ATM machines in Israel are those hooked up to a checking account, not savings. Please tell me the facts. I certainly don't want him in Israel and find his card does not work.

Also, I have been thinking about getting a Visa debit card (AAA sells one). You pre load it. It is good in any ATM's that tie in with Visa and accepted by Visa merchants. Are Visa ATM machines very plentiful? He will be travelling with a group and will not be able to go off to find specific ATM's. Thanks for the help.
Juldie is offline  
May 23rd, 2005, 08:40 AM
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Juldie -

Can't answer specific to Israel - I'm sure another will.

As to the ATM card, the funds have to come from a CHECKING ACCOUNT. This holds true worldwide, as the ATM cannot access one's Savings Account. Of course, you can and should contact your financial institution to verify.
May 23rd, 2005, 09:26 AM
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I also don't know whether there are any restrictions on ATM card use in Israel, but in general ATM cards can be used for any account, checking, savings, money market, etc. There are no restrictions in general although individual banks may only offer the cards with certain types of accounts.
NoFlyZone is offline  
May 23rd, 2005, 01:08 PM
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Here in the U.S. my son's ATM card is through his savings account. Because he is under 18 yrs. old a savings account with an ATM is all they would open for him. He can access all ATM machines in this country but I was told in Israel that is not the case. This is why I am hoping someone who is very familiar with ATM cards in Israel will respond.
Juldie is offline  
May 23rd, 2005, 02:33 PM
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I have never travelled in Israel, but i can definitely say that in regard to Most of western europe, Morocco, egypt, brazil and argentina, i have never been able to get money out of my savings account. even though he's under 18, he should be able to open a checking account linked to savings account. This will allow him to use ATM that will withdraw money from his checking account. I opened my 1st checking account before 18, but i don't know if that was something unusual. I just assumed that it's allowed. Another option, is you can open a joint account with your son. This will get around the under-18 problem and give him full access to the money. My parents did that for my 1st savings account (when i was 15), and it worked wonderfully. An additional plus is that if he needs money while there, you can just do a transfer of funds between yourself, which may be fast and cheaper, especially if you have your own account with the same bank. In that case, the ank will view it as a transfer from one of your accounts to another, with no fees (although can't promise you about fees - banks vary).
lerasp is offline  
May 23rd, 2005, 05:52 PM
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No idea on the Visa ATM question, but as far as I remember all ATMs in Israel draw from one's checking account. BTW they are everywhere.

The work-around that comes to mind is to sign up for electronic banking so he'd have access to the savings and checking accounts via computer. There are a zillion internet cafes in Israel, so if he needs to transfer funds from his savings account to checking it can be done easily. He'd need to be sure that he logs out when done, and uses the option (they all have it) that asks if this is a public, rather than private computer (as in internet cafes or libraries) but it's really quite simple. Israel is an incredibly wired country.
Gardyloo is online now  
May 23rd, 2005, 06:02 PM
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Lerasp's idea makes lots of sense.

I would add to it a warning: Don't ever rely on ONE single card, be it an ATM card or a credit card. Always bring 2-3 different cards. Visa and MC are accepted anywhere in Israel.

Also, especially for credit cards, don't forget to CALL Your CREDIT CARD COMPANY BEFORE LEAVING HOME, let them know when and where the card will be used. Credit card companies have become quite paranoic in past years and would simply and automatically deny any transaction that looks fishy, certainly when done on the other side of the globe.
Mamamia is offline  
May 23rd, 2005, 06:53 PM
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Thanks everyone. That is a great tip Mamamia about letting the credit card company know the card is going to be used in Israel. I do plan to send him with more than one way to access money.
Juldie is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 09:53 AM
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This is an old thread, but I wanted to revive it. My daughter will spend the next 4 months in Israel in a High School exchange program. She has an ATM card attached to her checking account (it used to be attached to her savings, but many vendors would not take the card here in the U.S.), which seems like it should work fine.

The program (Eisendrath International Exhange) recommends us getting a VISA debit card (called Payoneer), that we would preload with funds. The problem is that the card is laden with fees ($10 startup, $5/month service, $5 first loading - then $3 after that, $2 per ATM withdrawal) that seem unecessary, given that she already has an ATM card.

Based on other threads here, it seems like standard ATM cards (hers is on the Plus and Interlink systems) should be sufficient in Israel. Would you agree, or should I spend the money to get a VISA debit card?

Al F.
ALF is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 12:24 PM
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I used a regular US based ATM all over Israel BUT I found that my bank's network was only compatible with some banks--e.g. Bank Hapoalim and Barclays, not Bank Leumi.
You need to do a little research and find out which networks your card has and which banks will be near where she is staying. Remind her to keep a little cash available as there are odd times when there are strikes or some other reason that the ATMs seem to be out of money
AlexA is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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I used my ATM card in Israel - no problem, only you need to know which ones work for american cards. The way I figured it out, they look a little bigger, and once you put the card in, the screen switches off to English automatically.

If it's Hebrew only, for Israeli bank accounts, it will NOT eat up your card, don't worry

And ALF, here is an advice for you: open a joint account. In case the child runs out of money, you can add to the account in the US, so your child can take money off in Israel.
FainaAgain is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 07:58 PM
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Thanks Faina, we indeed have a joint account. That was why I considered it ideal, just transfer money from my checking account to hers. I'm thinking that the organization she is going with (National Federation for Temple Youth - NFTY) assumes that the kids may be too young to have their own checking accounts and/or ATMs. If so, then a VISA prepaid debit card might make sense.

Al F.
ALF is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 08:50 AM
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ALF, the way I see it: Visa paid NFTY promotional fees to be in their "recomendations". You as a parent make your choice as this is YOUR money!

Am I right or am I right?
FainaAgain is offline  

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