🇮🇱 Monzo in Israel [Discussion]

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.


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

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?

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really helpful thank you :smile:

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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’


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?

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


Yes, the Israeli new shekel!


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?

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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?

Shavua Tov!




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.

Did you get a decline message in Monzo? That’s one way to tell if the authorisation message ever got to them!

Of course, for 10 ILS, a plastic card is a nice souvenir.

Yes, I got a declined message when I tried to do McDonalds self service. The Monzo agent said it was because I needed to enable magstripe but I was actually declined on a contactless transaction. I know Israel does not really do contactless but those terminals do have the capability so I tried it out and was declined.

But I have been declined every time I tried to use my card at self service McDs and Ikea in Israel (not just contactless) (with decline notification from Monzo) so I think it is terminal provider dependent.

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Likely contactless magstripe mode then. If it’s anything like McDonald’s in the US was before they got EMV, there’s something about the authorisation messages a lot of foreign issuers don’t like…

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I can confirm McDonald’s uses magstripe contactless. Works with Monzo but not MBNA or Virgin Money.

It turns out the EMV liability shift date here was just a few weeks ago. Alas, even so I’d expect more chip support than I’ve seen since merchants are now liable for fraud losses. I used one chip ATM. That’s it. McDonald’s is the only place I’ve seen with contactless.

Some more details:

  • Coke machine in Ben-Gurion Airport didn’t work. Attempted contact EMV, magstripe, contactless, and Android Pay. Contactless (on card) didn’t even succeed in reading, all others returned ‘temporarily not authorized’. Only Android Pay got a decline notification in the Monzo app. Monzo chat said it was a CVC1 mismatch - so clearly the same issue Coke machines in the US have (same readers, too) with terribly formatted authorisation messages. Undisclosed surcharge (or disclosed only in Hebrew?)
  • Only place with working contactless was McDonald’s on their VX820s, and it used magstripe mode so failed for all my British cards except Monzo (Monzo is one of the few to allow this old, insecure contactless mode to be used). Oddly the second light did not light, but I can’t recall what the lights each mean (except the first, which is readiness, and the last, which is data exchange complete).
  • Most deployments are integrated magnetic stripe readers.
  • Some EMV-capable terminals and contactless-capable terminals are deployed (even saw customer-facing iSC250s at one place, which are a very nice Ingenico terminal popular in the US), but even so, only magstripe was ever enabled.
  • No DCC encountered, anywhere - this was perhaps the one good note, for a country whose payment landscape is reminiscent of the US a few years ago (a total mess, insecure and unreliable)