The Bank of Israel published the Annual Report of the Currency Department for 2018 (in Hebrew) today.
  The report contains wide-ranging and detailed information about the Department's activity in 2018.  The following are the main points of the report:


  • Cash in circulation at the end of 2018 totaled NIS 85.9 billion, an increase of about 4 percent compared to the previous year.  This is similar to the average rate of increase in the past three years (5 percent), and lower than the average of the past decade (10 percent).  Since 2016, we have seen a prolonged change, with total circulation continuing to increase, but more moderately than in the past.
  • The use habits of cash and other means of payment are influenced more now than in the past by changes in technology and regulation.  The Bank of Israel encourages the use of advanced nonpaper-based means of payment, and as such was part of the legislative process for the Reducing the Use of Cash Law, 5778–2018, which came into force in January 2019. In view of these changes, the Currency Department is prepared for various future scenarios and their possible impact on the demand for cash and on cash usage habits, although it remains too early to identify what changes have taken place in the public's behavior since the law came into force.
  • The continued increase in the circulation of cash, as well as survey findings, show that cash is a significant means of conducting transactions in Israel.  Cash expenditures constituted about 26 percent of total daily expenditures, while credit cards or debit cards accounted for about 38 percent.  Cash transactions are mostly in low amounts.  The median value of daily cash expenditures is NIS 46, and only 10 percent of survey respondents reported daily cash expenditures in excess of NIS 460.  The public has a greater preference for cash payments for tips (79 percent), travel by taxi (73 percent), and transferring money to a relative (69 percent).
  • Between the launch of the new series of banknotes and July 2019, the banknote replacement rate in all denominations from Series B to Series C has been as planned—about 89 percent, with the following distribution: about 94 percent of NIS 200 banknotes, about 83 percent of NIS 100 banknotes, about 93 percent of NIS 50 banknotes, and about 71 percent of NIS 20 banknotes.
  • In parallel with the replacement of the banknote series, the Currency Department has led a series of measures and initiatives to advance innovation in the Israeli currency system.  These include the implementation of advanced technological systems for data management and analysis, advancement of regulation, improvement of controls and infrastructure, and streamlining of processes. The Department is also strengthening professional cooperation between the Bank of Israel and other central banks as well as various organizations in Israel and abroad, to position the Bank of Israel at the forefront of currency innovation worldwide.
  • For the first time, the Bank of Israel published rules for the proper operation of the currency system, established a national database on counterfeiters, and for the very first time, won a global-precedent-setting civil lawsuit against currency counterfeiters due to copyright infringement.  This step is intended to increase deterrence against counterfeiters in addition to the criminal conviction.  Thanks to these actions by the Currency Department, the Bank of Israel was selected by the international periodical Central Banking as Currency Manager of the Year for 2019.


For more information, including instructional material regarding the security features on the new series of banknotes, please visit the Bank of Israel's website, and the website