Guest Contributor: Rifka Lebowitz
A few days after making Aliya you will be asked to schedule a meeting with Misrad Haklita to discuss your Sal Klita, the benefits new Olim receive. At this meeting, you will be asked to hand in documentation from an Israeli bank showing your account details, so they can start depositing monthly payments as part of your Sal Klita.
To Open an Account You Will Need
- Your Teudat Zehut and Teudat Oleh (if you don’t have one yet your Teudat Oleh should suffice).
- Cash or check to make a deposit into your new account and thus activate it. Misrad Haklita is unable to transfer Sal Kita payments to an inactive account.
- “Note of Future Bank Account” received at the airport.
- Time. There are many forms to sign and much information you should ask and receive. It is highly recommended that you go to the bank to open your account at least one hour before they close.
- Your foreign tax identification number. If you came from the U.S. this is your social security number. If you came from other places, this is your ITIN/TIN number.
- US citizens will be requested to provide their Social Security number and complete a W-9 form.
What You Will Receive
- A booklet with all of your account terms and conditions, including your bank account number and branch details.
- Instructions for online banking, if you request access to it.
- Phone banking access details.
- Copies of forms and terms for a credit card.
- “Note of Future Bank Account” gets stamped; retain this paperwork for Misrad Haklita.
- Each person who will appear on the bank account (i.e. your spouse) must be present with his or her documentation when you open the account.
- You will be signing forms confirming you declare taxes in your country of origin and all the money in your account now and in the future is yours (tax and anti money laundering forms). All account owners must have their foreign tax identification numbers/social security numbers.
- US citizens will be asked to complete a W-9 form.
- Most credit cards are issued via your bank. You can order your first card when you open your account. (You will probably need to put aside a deposit to be eligible for a card). A credit card also acts as an ATM card, so you don’t need both.
- When you order checkbooks they take 3 days to arrive, and you must pick them up at the bank. Each bank branch works separately, if you want to pick up checkbooks or anything else at a different branch than the one you opened your account in, you must notify your branch.
- Choose the bank and branch you open your account in wisely. During your first few months of Aliyah you are likely to need to make several transactions at your bank, so it’s a good idea to choose one close to where your live or work.
- If you are depositing a small sum of cash, I recommend depositing NIS. It can be relatively expensive to deposit a small sum of foreign currency, and the bank will also charge you to convert to it NIS.
- Bank accounts have many compartments. The account you open has the ability to hold foreign currency, savings plans and more.
- When you are looking for a mortgage you can take one from any bank; it does not need to be the same bank where you have your current account.
- Bankers can’t give you information on the phone unless you have a phone code; it is recommended that you get one.
For a helpful glossary of banking terms in Hebrew, please click here.
For a translated list of banking terms, see the following link.
Financial consultant Rifka Lebowitz helps people mange their personal finances and small business finances smarter in Israel. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, see www.rifkalebowitz.com or join Rifka’s Facebook community @Living Financially Smarter in Israel.