In Israel, you’ll be able to use a credit or debit card at most restaurants and other well-established businesses. However, no trip to Israel is complete without a visit to a street market and a stop (or 10) at a falafel cart, and for those, you’ll need cash.
Luckily, getting cash in Israel is as easy as finding an ATM, and they’re spread out all over Israeli cities to make this a relatively simple task. Here’s where to find an ATM in Israel and how to use it.
ATMs — called makinat alsiraf alalii in Arabic — are widespread in Israel’s cities. You should be able to find one pretty easily at airports, bus and train stops, kiosks and outside almost all bank branches.
Israel’s five largest banks have online ATM locators to make it even easier to find where you can withdraw cash.
- Bank Hapoalim ATM locator (only available in Hebrew)
- Bank Leumi ATM locator
- Israel Discount Bank ATM locator
- Mizrahi Tefahot Bank ATM locator
- First International Bank of Israel ATM locator
In rural parts of Israel, ATMs will be harder to find, so if that’s where you’re headed, you may want to stock up on cash before leaving the city.
US, UK and Australian cards should work at most card-accepting merchants in Israel, and ATMs will have decals that show what card networks they are compatible with. Most 5- and 6-digit PINs should work at Israeli ATMs, but longer ones may not. Most Israeli cards have both PINs and chips, but non-chip cards (like most from the US) are still widely accepted.
You can also use these ATM locators to find Israeli ATMs that will accept your debit or credit card:
- Maestro ATM locator
- Mastercard and Cirrus ATM locator
- Visa, Plus, and Plus Alliance ATM locator
- Discover ATM locator
- American Express ATM locator
Each bank sets its own withdrawal limits, but some travelers have reported being able to withdraw up to 2500 NIS at one time.
It’s always a smart idea to let your bank know before you travel abroad; otherwise, you risk having your card shut down for suspicious activity. You may also want to find out if your credit or debit card has a daily withdrawal limit and have that temporarily adjusted if you’ll need to withdraw larger amounts daily while on your trip.
One way to save money when traveling abroad is to reduce (or altogether avoid) ATM fees. Here are some tips and tricks.
Some ATMs in other countries will offer the seemingly helpful service of displaying transactions in your home currency, saving you from having to do the math of the currency conversion yourself. This is actually a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) scam that allows the owner of the ATM to choose his or her own exchange rate, often marking it up to make a profit off your withdrawal. If you encounter this, always choose to display transactions in the local currency. This will allow you to withdraw money at the real mid-market rate, or the exchange rate you see when you Google it, which is much fairer.
Your home bank may charge international withdrawal or foreign transaction fees. Check with your bank about what fees it charges, and consider opening a bank account without foreign transaction fees before you travel.
In addition to whatever fees your home bank charges, there will likely be a charge for using the ATM. This amount will vary between different banks, networks and ATM owners.
ATM fees can add up for frequent travelers. Luckily, there are ways to avoid them altogether.
Some cards reimburse ATM fees either instantly or with a monthly refund. Choose one of these cards to save some money while you travel.
If every withdrawal comes with a fee, it makes sense to aim for making fewer withdrawals.
ATMs in areas with high tourist traffic may have higher fees. Try to avoid those if you can.
If you, a friend or a relative has a bank account in Israel, you may be able to save money by transferring money there ahead of time with TransferWise. TransferWise always uses the mid-market rate, so you don’t get stuck paying for exchange rate markups or other hidden fees. All you pay is a small, fair transfer fee that’s spelled out upfront.
Another option is to open a borderless multi-currency account with no monthly fees. There, you can manage and send dozens of different currencies all from the same account. All around the world. (Likely, for a lot cheaper than your bank.) You can also get the TransferWise debit card, so you can withdraw cash from ATMs, and pay for goods and services wherever you are in the world.
Ready for your trip to Israel? Safe travels!
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