The Best Way to Transfer Money to Israel [My Unsolicited Review of TransferWise]

Disclosure Statement

This is a post for my friends in Israel (or those who are just curious about the practical side of our life here)!

If you live in Israel, but earn money — or just have savings — in the United States (or elsewhere), then you no doubt have struggled with this issue: Finding the best way to transfer money to Israel quickly and inexpensively.

When we were moving to Israel last August, we did a wire transfer between our bank in the US and our bank here in Israel. We assumed (erroneously) that this was the only way to do things.

Unfortunately, the fees were outrageous and it took nearly a week for the money to land here. (Which means, WE landed in Israel before our money did — oops!)

As it turns out, setting up a money transfer directly through your bank in America is the slowest and most costly way to move your money to Israel.

UGH!

I realized we had to find a better solution, but we had no idea what to do.

Well, after much research and trial and error — and more long waits for our money, and more outrageous fees, we have finally figured out a system that works for us!

A number of third-party companies have sprung up to help people like us move money between countries and accounts.

We researched several of them, and decided on TransferWise — largely based on reviews from people we know. We also loved the low costs and user-friendly website.

Here’s how it works: TransferWise withdraws money from your account in America (or whatever country the money is in) and deposits it into your account in Israel.

And here’s the best part: TransferWise does it with VERY LOW FEES (relative to everything else we investigated), with FAVORABLE EXCHANGE RATES (again, this is all relative) and at SUPER QUICK SPEEDS.

If we start a transfer on a Monday, then by Wednesday evening (Thursday morning at the latest), the money is in our account in Israel.

And the exchange rate is the exact same rate that the Bank of Israel posted on the day we started the transaction — not half a percent lower, like a bank “offered”.

Transferwise

The transfer fees are based on the amount of money you transfer, but we have routinely paid half of what our bank charged us for the same exchange.Transferwise

Disclosure: I am most definitely not an accountant, so please do consult with a professional about any tax ramifications from transferring money.

As far as the “tech” side of things, though, we have been 100% satisfied with TransferWise — and recommend it to all of our friends… including all of you, now!

By the way, I’d love to know: Are you interested in hearing more about our life in Israel? I know most of you are here for the deals (I get it!), but if you would like to see more posts about either the practical — or the more emotional (okay, not too emotional!) — side of living in Israel, please leave a comment and let me know!

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