Banking in Israel when Staying at one of the Hotels in Israel
If you haven’t made arrangements to change money before you arrive in your hotel in Israel, then you should be aware of the banking hours and banking system in Israel. Even though Israel is considered a developed country, it’s banking hours and fees are more Middle Eastern based. It takes some getting used to, but once you’ve got the system down, it’s quite easy.
Banks are usually open from Sunday – Thursday, with some branches open on Friday mornings. Hours are somewhat limited – usual hours are Sunday – Thursday, 8:30 am – 1:30 pm, and Monday and Wednesday, from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm. Most banks have a separate area for currency exchange; however, lines can be long. Most tellers speak English, and are polite compared to the stereotypes of bank tellers 20 years ago. Today, banks are heavily promoting customer service, and it shows. The one thing that’s hard to get used to is the commission schedule – almost every transaction has a commission charge attached to it, from cashing a check, to taking money out of the ATM, to exchanging currency. It’s just part of the Israeli banking environment. Most banks charge the same commission rates. If you need to know bank locations, just ask your hotel receptionist, as most of the hotels in Israel know the locations of the neighborhood banks.
Although banking hours are somewhat limited, especially if you need some cash quickly, you do have the option of using an ATM machine. Just realize that there’s a commission fee attached to withdrawing of money from your overseas account. But that’s similar in any other foreign country. ATMs are also located in many of the Israeli shopping malls. What Israel doesn’t have, at least for now, are ATMs located in hotels in Israel. However, your hotel in Israel can change money for you whether it’s dollars, Euros, or Rubles. They’ll charge you a commission, but it might be worth the convenience of simply going up to the hotel receptionist, asking to change $100 and getting the shekel equivalency in a matter a moments. Usually, they have funds available 24/7.