The Bank of Israel announces assistance to customers in withdrawing National Insurance benefits
Following Ministry of Health guidelines, the desire to maintain the health of banking system customers, and in view of the reduction of customer reception services to designated branches only, the banking system is currently starting to send debit cards to customers who receive National Insurance benefits and do not have debit cards, preferring to withdraw the benefits through teller services at their branches.
Supervisor of Banks Dr. Hedva Ber said, “The Banking Supervision Department is working to enable the continuity of banking services, and is constantly working to provide solutions to various situations that are developing as a result of the corona pandemic. The measure we are announcing will enable customers who receive National Insurance benefits to withdraw the benefit from any ATM without going to their branch, and to avoid putting their health in danger. I welcome the banking system’s immediate accession, led by the Association of Banks, to the solution formulated with the aim of enabling customers who receive benefits to withdraw their money.”
Following Ministry of Health guidelines to reduce activity and movement in the public sphere, and with the desire to enable continuity in the provision of banking services to the broad public while maintaining public health and the health of bank employees, the Banking Supervision Department has permitted the banks to reduce customer-reception services to designated branches only for urgent and essential services, and has published additional leniencies with the aim of helping customers carry out transactions through digital channels or the bank’s call center.
This situation has created a difficulty for customers who receive various benefits from the National Insurance Institute and do not have a debit card (a card for withdrawing cash or making transactions remotely), and who generally withdraw their benefits through teller services at their branch. Therefore, the banking system is currently starting to send a debit card to these customers through the mail, in order to help them withdraw the amount of the benefit from any ATM without needing to go to the branch.
This measure can even reduce or eliminate the need to withdraw cash, since the debit card also enables payment for the purchase of goods and services similar to a credit card (with the customer’s bank account being charged for the transaction immediately). Thus, in view of the Ministry of Health’s updated guidelines regarding reduced movement in the public sphere, customers can use the debit card to make transactions remotely (by phone or Internet), as necessary.
It should be noted that the use of a debit card for a customer that does not have a credit card may involve a monthly fee of a few shekels. (The exact amount of the fee differs from bank to bank.) In any case, if the customer does not activate the card sent to him, he will not be charged the fee.
Customers are asked to be vigilant and to check their mailboxes in the coming days to check whether they have received the debit card and the subscription agreement, and to act in accordance with directions in order to activate the card. If the card has not arrived by March 29 (the date on which the next benefits will be paid out), it is recommended to remain patient for a few days and not to go to the branches—as much as possible. If the card is not received during the next month, please contact the bank where you account is managed to clarify the situation.