Israeli Based Credit Cards in Israel

Israeli Based Credit Cards in Israel


There have been a few posts here discussing using credit cards in Israel. Obviously, if you are reading this blog you are active and will hopefully know that when using an American Credit Card in Israel you need to be aware that many if not most US Credit Cards add Foreign transaction fees, this may also be called an international fee. These foreign transaction fees are typically around 3% of the purchase. So if you spent, say, $500 a month on groceries here in Israel, the extra fees might cost you another $15


The good news is that there are many options of credit cards available that have no foreign transaction fees. Some credit card issuers, like Capital One, waive foreign transaction fees on all their cards. So read the post here  ( if you want more information about a US credit card. Just to be clear these are US Dollar based credit cards. So what happens when you make a charge is that the credit card will charge you the current dollar to shekel rate that they pay and convert the amount that you are paying into dollars.


Using a US Credit card in Israel has many advantages ( see and especially if you have money coming in or income in US Dollars then that is definitely the best option.


That being said there are more and more industries that can give you a problem with using a foreign credit card. For example, The Iriya in Jerusalem, as well as the Israeli government websites do not accept most foreign credit cards.

Another reason to get an Israel (Shekel) based Credit Card is Tashlumim (Payments). This is a common option when you are paying, they will ask if you would like to do “Tahlumim.” This is an option of paying a bill over the course of several months (up to 24 months in some cases) interest-free, which may be of interest to many people/


So this post will go through the options to get an Israeli Credit Card.


Option One – Through your Bank – Generally, credit cards are issued by Israeli banks, so if you have an Israeli Bank account at any of the major banks, you can ask for a credit card to be added to the account. It is important to remember that these “Credit” cards, like almost all credit cards in Israel are really debit cards and are linked and preapproved to automatically withdrawn/debited from your checking account once every month the full outstanding balance. The good news is that these credit cards can be granted by any banker, and there is no need to get it “approved, which can be problematic for Americans. The bad news is that there are almost always monthly fees with these cards. These fees are usually between 10-15 shekel a month. It is possible to get these fees waived or at least cut them in half. However that takes a trip to the bank, talking to a banker, and as with anything, no guarantees. This credit card most times can also be used as an ATM card (Caspomat Card) to take money out of The bank’s ATM machine.


Option Two – Through a Store – There is another option, which is to open a credit card not connected to your bank account. For example, if you live in Ramat Eshkol, you may have seen months in which a local supermarket “Yesh” is pushing people to sign up. ( These are relatively easy cards to apply for, and while it does need to be “approved” most people have no issues with successfully signing up.


Benefits: These credit cards are, many weeks, needed in order to access weekly sale prices on various items, as well as usually having the first year free, a slightly lower monthly fee and many people have had success calling over the phone and getting these fees waived consistently year after year.


Option Three – כזה אני רוצהIn 2019 Max credit card company was spun off from Leumi to become its own company. There are many options of unique credit cards that one can sign up for, but one that we can recommend. The only current free option for an Israeli credit card is the כזה אני רוצה Executive Max Card. This Credit Card needs to be approved and is therefore currently only available to Israeli citizens with a Tuedat Zehut. (


In order to be eligible for this card you need to A) Have a Tuedat Zehut and B) Have another Israeli Credit Card. C) Be a member of the כזה אני רוצה Facebook group (


So for those out there who, either husband or wife, has a Tuedat Zehut and a credit card that you are paying a monthly fee for. Join the Facebook group, apply for this free credit card, and then you can cancel the old one with the monthly fee.


Final Important Point! If you use your current bank-issued credit card as an ATM card, you MUST order a regular ATM card for your bank before cancelling that credit card as otherwise, you will have no ability to take cash out of the bank. Regular (non- Credit Card ATM cards are available from all banks for no fee, however, they do not usually offer it, as they make money from their monthly credit card fees.



Amazon Week 1: Jigsaw Puzzles

Amazon Week 1: Jigsaw Puzzles



To remind those of you who may have missed it, for the next few weeks. Live your BIL will be discussing the pros and cons of ordering individual items from Amazon to Israel. Now that the free shipping bonanza has ended, and it looks like it may be a long term disappearance, you need to think long and hard before paying the (what looks like) outrageous international shipping rates. To find out what the local prices and availability are for the desired products and discover if it makes sense to buy locally or from Amazon. This week for our first product we will look to a personal favorite – Jigsaw puzzles.
During these days of quarantines and lockdowns, solving things, no matter what, whether jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, sudokus— is one of the ways many of us are amusing ourselves. Depending on your preference you can look at a few hour 300 piece puzzle, or if you are more adventurous, (or in Shana Rishona) and have time you can go for the multiple week 1,000 piece puzzle or even the month long 1,500 piece experience. Interestingly puzzles are really selling out fast. Demand for them is surging and many stores can’t keep stock on the shelves. At Ravensburger, the global market leader, sales are up in the last few months 370%!

In this weeks post we will look at puzzles of 1000 pieces as they are the size and value that most people (who are puzzlers) look to. They are long enough to give you that feeling of accomplishment and success when you finish, not too short as to feel like you wasted your money, yet not too long that you lose interest. (Or big enough that if you take a week or two break you will still be motivated
to finish)

Buying in Israel – Jigsaw Puzzles are definitely available in any toy store. The supply is large, and there is a large variety of styles and pictures to pick from. The issue becomes quality. For those in the know, Ravensburg puzzles (according to LIVE YOUR BIL) are found to be the highest quality and do not break apart while you are putting it together. They have thick and sturdy packaging and puzzle pieces, which fit
together securely and are not confused by pieces that look the same and “kind of” fit. This post is going to focus on Ravensburger, the thought being if you are going to invest money one or two times for your enjoyment then the extra money is well spent knowing that you won’t end up frustrated as the pieces get separates, crack, mixed up and ruined. The only downside is that with a premium product comes a premium price tag. For example in a local toy store in Talpiot – Beit Tzatzua – בית הצעצוע ( you can find 1000 piece Ravensburger puzzles for 150 Shekel + 40 Shekel Shipping. (Please subtract shipping if you are making a large order or live near any of the stores we mention) That is almost $57! In another local option the price is similar 1000 piece puzzles are 170
Shekel with another 30 shekel delivery for a standard puzzle.

Buying on Amazon – As we have written above puzzles are in high demand and therefore supply is limited. That being said, the average price for these 1000 piece puzzle is around $21. Here are a few examples: Option One and Option Two or Option Three. All three of these puzzles have shipping for under $19 dollars for shipping for a total of just less than $40! Or over 17 dollars less than buying locally.

This is a perfect example of when it makes sense to look at Amazon, as long as you are not in a rush. The convenience, ease, and monetary savings makes this a no brainer. Plus with any issues, their customer service is second to none. Look around on Amazon, find a puzzle that you like and enjoy!
– Of course a reminder, that you can find other cheaper companies locally for cheaper for example a 1000 piece from Trefl ( A Polish puzzle company) can be bought from Bambino (A Ramat Eshkol toy store) for 100 shekel ( around $30) . Add on another 20 shekel if you want it delivered comes out to almost $36. Then it comes down to personal preference.
– However once we go down that road Amazon has a plethora of cheaper puzzles as well. For example Option One, Option Two or Option Three are all $10 plus another $14 shipping coming out again slightly cheaper than the local option. One final point, all prices in this post are limited to a person buying 1 puzzle, in quantity there is always discount. For example, if you buy 300 shekel worth of toys from Bambino they will ship it to your door for free.
The same thing from Amazon, while each item does add cost, it gets significantly cheaper the more you buy. For example, if you bought all three puzzles in our model, the total price including shipping would be $62.83 for the Puzzles (Must stay below $75!) plus $38.21 shipping for a total of only about $33 per puzzle! So if you know any other puzzle enthusiast, then order together for some realsavings!

See you next week!

Amazing Amazon – A Second Look

Amazing Amazon – A Second Look


For many of us almost a year ago when Amazon began its free delivery campaign for many products to Israel for purchases of over $49, it was a true game-changer. Suddenly we could order almost anything we wanted, for a reasonable price, delivered straight to our door. Then in March when Amazon stopped shipping to Israel there was a feeling that this was the end. It was nice while it lasted, but if I can’t get it shipped here then obviously I will just keep shipping things to my parents, in-laws, or siblings and hope someone comes it soon. But as it seems like Israel may be cut off for some time LIVE YOUR BIL is going to take an in depth look and some things that still may be worth it to ship here. Our items may surprise you! Each we week will take one product or item discuss the details of it, and how it may be useful. Then we will look into buying it in Israel, the options both online and in-store. We will also discuss the Amazon price, the shipping options, and finally, we will give our opinion on whether or not it makes sense to buy it locally or to import it from Amazon! This week we will discuss a few universal ideas that one needs to keep in mind when ordering from Amazon. Many of these apply to all orders that come in from Overseas.

Two important things to keep in mind any time you are buying from Amazon:
1) VAT – Israel charges VAT of 17% on all imports including and above $75 (The interesting thing is that the $75 does not include the shipping, however you go over the $75 limit you must pay VAT for all the entire order (including shipping and handling fees). Interesting
enough this is strictly enforced $75 limit for VAT-free imports is strictly enforced if your order comes to $75.15 expect to pay Meches (VAT)
2) The item needs to be included in “The Amazon Global” inventory — items that Amazon ships
internationally. This rules our many electronics and food item. So when you are searching in
order to save yourself from some frustrations make sure you are looking for delivery to your
Israel address location
This week we will discuss the top reasons to both buy and ship or never buy and ship to Israel
from Amazon
Reasons to always look to buy and ship from Amazon:
1) Variety and Supply – Amazon has what you are looking for. With over 12 million products
available for purchase the chances are that you will be able to find what you are looking for
on Amazon. There is nothing more frustrating than walking through your local Tambor or
Makolet and have them tell you that they don’t carry that or that they need to order it, so
pay now and come back in 2 weeks
2) Ease of Order – This may only be applicable to some of you but if you live far from a toy,
hardware, clothing, electronic store, then how about waiting five days and have it delivered
to your door? Almost all Amazon orders are sent with local Mishlochim and even if they call
you to come down and pick it up from their car three blocks away, but, if you stand firm,
they will really bring it all the way up the stairs to your Dira!
3) Customer Service – Unlike some other stores, they really do value their customers and have excellent customer service. People are available and accessible to help at any time — anyone can call the contact center at any time, which is great for us in Israel. They allow returns easily and without making it a hassle. Locally they can have DHS pick it up, or in some circumstance will issue a return-less refund if the case warrants it.
However, it is not always so simple.
Reasons to never look to buy and ship from Amazon:
1) Timing– Shipping from America takes time. We are talking about at least a week, more likely two weeks, and definitely not unheard of to take even longer. Amazon, in their estimated shipping, writes that it will arrive in about a month, buy-in LYB experience it doesn’t take THAT long but still a good chunk of time. So if you are looking for a kitchen appliance or a birthday gift and do not want to or can’t wait 10- 15 days then local is the way to go
2) Cost – No matter how you cut it International shipping is going to cost more than local domestic delivery.
This is because of the extra steps the item needs to take before arriving at its destination. Deliveries in Israel, generally get dropped off at the delivery company, where they are sorted by destination. Then, another driver takes the parcels from the depot to a specific city and delivers them. International deliveries, on the other hand, involve a lot of extra work. The boxes go through a clearing depot, before being taken to an airport to be loaded onto a cargo plane. The plane then takes all the parcels to the country in question, where each parcel has to go through customs to be inspected. Once the parcels are cleared, the parcel is passed on to the next courier to complete the last leg of the journey. All of this costs money. So this rules out most heavy and bulky items. The Excersaucer may only be $74.99 but if shipping so $160 then, most of the time, it doesn’t make sense
3) Voltage – Most Amazon electronics or appliances will be 120 Volts and over 1500 Watts. This means they won’t work with most converters that are available. So while you may love that pizza or waffle maker, adding in a commercial converter to make it work here in Israel just doesn’t make sense, both because it’s annoying to use, takes up a TON of space, and may not even make financial sense.
In the coming weeks, we will look at some products and go through the pros and cons of buying locally vs. buying from Amazon and shipping them in. Look for it in your Inbox! We are not talking about “Deals” or specials, simply regular items that you use daily, weekly, and see if ordering from Amazon should be part of YOUR BIL!

Please comment below if you bought something and paid to ship it here, or if you’d like LIVE YOUR BIL to review something.
One final thing to remember while we will be looking for items with consistent pricing and prices we discuss IYH will be accurate at the time of posting, Amazon’s prices are always changing. Make sure to check the price shown on Amazon when you are checking out, as that will be the price you are charged! If it went up, think about waiting a few days, and vice versa. If it went down, jump on it!