Coins are counted in ten and fifty-agorot pieces, and one, five and ten shekel pieces. Banknotes are in denominations of 20, 50, 100 and 200 shekels.
The Bank of Israel is the central bank of Israel, and it oversees currency exchange. All banks exchange currencies, and many banks have exchange centres. Private exchange brokers and dealers at stores also exchange currencies.
Banks charge a set fee for every transaction and a percentage of the total amount you exchange. Dealers charge similar prices, so you can exchange currency where it is convenient for you.
You can also change your money on the street with individual vendors. However, exchanging your money this way is not recommended. Street dealers are not authorized to change currency and may charge high exchange rates. In some cases, they may even sell you unauthorised bank notes which are out of circulation and won't be accepted at stores, such as the 500 or 1,000 shekel note.
You may also use an ATM (caspomat) card to withdraw shekels from your bank account. ATM machines are located throughout all of Israel, and different machines charge different fees for transactions. For example, fees are higher in major tourist areas. Most ATM machines in Israel limit the amount of currency you can withdraw to 1,000 shekels per day.
Credit and debit cards
Israeli stores, restaurants and businesses readily accept credit cards, and they will usually charge a fee for processing the transaction. Most businesses accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Diners Club, Eurocard and other international credit cards. Debit cards from these companies are also widely accepted.
Stores and businesses in Israel do not accept traveller's cheques reliably. Banks and post offices do, but banks charge high prices for transactions. Exchange traveller's cheques at post offices if possible. Otherwise, avoid using traveller's cheques completely.
Israeli banks typically allow direct debit payments and standing money orders. You can also transfer money via private transfer agencies such as Western Union, but beware that these agencies are also used by scammers (you should never pay an online purchase through them).
All international money transfers larger than 80,000 shekels must be reported to Customs using form 84. This form is available at all Customs Houses and Customs Units. The form is also available on the Israeli Tax Authority's website. If you carry more than 80,000 shekels into or out of Israel must give the form to a Customs or border control official.
Consistency is key when writing a cheque in Israel. Although banks accept checks written in Hebrew or English, Israeli banks will not accept cheques written in both languages. Additionally, they may not accept a check written in Hebrew if you have written all previous checks in English.
New Israeli residents and tourists should write checks using the Gregorian calendar, not the Jewish one.
Overdrafting cheques is legal in Israel, and you are able to bounce up to nine cheques in a month without any direct penalties. If you bounce ten cheques, the bank has the right to deny you credit and chequeing privileges for up to five years.
Israeli banks also accept postdated cheques up to 12 months in advance of the date they receive the cheque.