🇮🇱 Monzo in Israel [Discussion]

(Steve Hooper) #1

Used Monzo in the gift shop in The Garden Tomb, Jerusalem. Some concern at lack of name on the card.

Also, in Israel, the usage of cards is widespread, but the system doesn’t always like prepaid cards.

I’ve not once been asked for a PIN, and only occasionally been asked for a signature. I wonder where the liability falls for a fraudulent transaction, because as soon as it’s accepted little interest is made in the card or cardholder. Not found any contactless acceptance yet after a week across Tel Aviv, Galilee or Jerusalem.

Travelling to Israel!
ICBC - the anti-FinTech?
(Roxanna Zea) #2

Just finished a week’s travel in Israel successfully with only my Monzo card! What I found:

  • no ATMs use chip and pin, so make sure that you activate magnetic strip ATM withdrawal option in settings for a successful withdrawal
  • free wifi in Tel Aviv airport so if you forget, you can log on and activate magnetic strip ATM withdrawal when you get there
  • many restaurants accepted debit card in Tel Aviv and I paid for all my meals with Monzo, outside of Tel Aviv, the number of restaurants and shops accepting cards decline significantly (even in Jerusalem)
  • restaurants don’t let you write the tip in once they have wiped your card, so ask for either the tip amount to be included when the card is swiped or tip in cash



so after traveling in Israel this is what I have picked up about using monzo.


virtually all cash machines have multiple language options.

Bank Hapoalim = no problems.

Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot = no problems.

Bank Leumi = no problems ( be very careful of what you click on, because the ATM give you an option to be charged in GBP rather than ILS at a higher fee so it’s obviously cheaper on monzo to be charged in ILS)

Discount Bank = EDIT they now let cash withdrawals, but sometimes it randomly declines the transaction for no apparent reason.

Mercantile Bank = EDIT they now let cash withdrawals, but sometimes it randomly declines the transaction for no apparent reason.

also there are more smaller banks that I haven’t tried .

they will always just swipe the card and sometimes ask you to sign the receipt, they never ask for a pin.

I have never been refused in-store because they don’t accept a foreign card, so you shouldn’t have any problems using it in any shop.

if you have any questions about monzo in Israel or just traveling in israel @mention me and I’ll try to answer. :+1:


Hi, thanks for your post…my parents are just looking at Monzo cards as they visit Israel every year and seems a good idea instead of taking money. Your 3rd point about shops not accepting it… did you have your magnetic strip enabled? did you have to withdraw on your card instead?


really helpful thank you :smile:


ATMs have occasionally been known to run out of cash, especially just before Shabbat and before national holidays, when withdrawals are heavy. Make sure you’ve a back-up plan so you are not stuck walking across town searching for a stocked ATM.


btw from my 6+ months traveling in Israel i’ve never come across a place that doesn’t accept cards except for some ‘Street stands’

(Allie) #9

I just booked tickets to go to Tel Aviv on holiday in February! Excited, as it’ll be my first non-European outing of my Monzo card (I used it to get petrol in Ireland once, so it has been out of the UK, LOL). Anything else worth noting that has changed in the last six months?

I’m surprised at the number of magstripe reports coming from 2017, is this still the case? I thought they had the same EMV liability shift date (2015) as the US? Do ATMs charge fees if I need some actual shekels?

(Hugh Wells) #10

Is that the actual name of the currency?! My mother always used it as a eupehmism for money!

(Allie) #11

Yes, the Israeli new shekel!


All cash machines inside banks are free, but be careful of small ones insides corner stores etc as those charge,

Bank merchantile and discount (both have green logos/colour scheme) sometimes needs magstripe withdrawals turned on, but not always , but the other banks will work fine, bank leumi (blue logo/colour scheme) will ask you if u want them to convert it to gbp for you, so press no.

Also when you land in Ben Gurion, there is a red cash machine by baggage claim from bank hapoalim which is free.

Emv isnt used everything just gets swiped.

(Allie) #13

Thanks! I need to learn more about what liability shift rules applied to Israel, I thought they’d already had their EMV liability shift.

What will I need shekels for? I’m staying at a hostel in Tel Aviv for four nights and want to explore from there but not outside Tel Aviv. Planning at least one beach day (I’m thinking Saturday, since I’ll be able to walk to the beach and since it’s Shabbat I imagine everything else will be pretty limited?), find some parties, and maybe see some culture and sights? Not venturing far, though. Does public transport take cards (either open loop contactless on board like London, or through a ticketing app like most British cities?) or will I need shekels for buses, etc?


The buses don’t accept cards, you can either use cash or get an travel card (basically like an oyster card)

Depends how much you are planning on using the bus if it’s worth buying a card, it costs 5ils for a card on the bus , just ask the driver for one (they don’t always have ) you can top-up 30, 50 or 100 ils only and then you get 25% added on , so if you put 100ils the balance of your card will be 125ils .

You can also buy a card (only with cash )and use a card to top it by certain top-up machines.

In Tel Aviv there is still a decent amount of stuff open on Saturdays.

The best app by far is moovit for transportation in Israel, it packs in Google maps.

(Allie) #15

So I’ll need some cash to get a travel card no matter what? I’ll get a hundred shekels from the ATM at the airport then, should that be plenty?

Any travel tips? Things I must see/do?


Ye the easiest thing is to get one on the bus, or you could go to a transportation office wait in a queue then if they speak English etc… ask the driver for a ‘rav-kav’ and if you have a 100 note then just ask for 50 to be put on, that should be enough for 4 days, but if you run out you still have 30 to top-up again.

I don’t know the Tel Aviv area so much, so your best off looking on travel forums etc ,


Shavua Tov!


U from/lived in Israel?




You dont need to buy a Rav Kav if you are only travelling for 4 days. Pay for all buses in cash, its a lot easier!


I have been using Monzo in Israel for a while
It’s pretty good

The main issue with Monzo cards in Israel is that they are usually declined at self-service payment terminals

My card was declined 4 x at self service Macdonalds , I asked support why and they couldnt give me an actual answer. (It has never worked, I had to switch to another card)

My card was also declinded twice at Ikea self service checkout

I think it is likely a problem with Israeli self-service terminals not recognizing foreign cards and not a fault with Monzo itself.