All goods and services may be purchased with the following currencies, which can be freely exchanged: Euro; Australian Dollar; US Dollar; Hong Kong Dollar; New Zealand Dollar; Singapore Dollar; Canadian Dollar; Japanese Yen; Danish Krone; Norwegian Krone; Swedish Krona; Pound Sterling; Swiss Franc; South African Rand. Nevertheless, storeowners and service providers are not required to accept foreign currency and are permitted to give change in shekels even if payment was made in foreign currency.
The following are all the conditions which must be fulfilled in order to receive the V.A.T. refund upon departing from Israel. Please make sure that all the following conditions are fulfilled.
- Non-Israeli citizens are entitled to receive a V.A.T. refund if they do not hold an Israeli passport and if they are visiting Israel as a tourist as per the visa stamped in their foreign passport. If it is preferred not to have your passport stamped on your entry to Israel, please keep the form handed to you when entering Israel for inspection at the V.A.T. refund counter.
- The goods must have been purchased in a store included in the V.A.T. refund program and the purchase amount in one tax invoice including V.A.T. must exceed NIS 400.
- The goods were purchased for personal use only and in a quantity which is not commercial.
- The goods are for export from the State of Israel.
- The goods are not food, drink or tobacco products.
- In order to obtain the V.A.T. refund, the goods should be packed in a closed bag together with the special invoice for the purpose of V.A.T. refund and presented to the official at the 'MILGAM' counter.
Major credit cards – American Express, Diners, Visa, Mastercard/Access/Eurocard – are widely accepted in Israeli restaurants, stores, hotels, museums, etc.
In Israel it is customary to tip primarily in restaurants. When the bill does not include service, a 12% tip should be added to the payment. In hotels, one tips the bellhop or any other service provider. Taxi drivers are generally not tipped.
Bargaining is acceptable in Israel, but not everywhere. In the open-air markets, do not hesitate to bargain as it is part of the experience and doing so can lower the price. Storekeepers are legally required to display prices and for the most part are not open to bargaining. This is also true of restaurants and public transportation. Passengers are advised to ask cab drivers to turn on the meter, thus avoiding unnecessary haggling.
Various banks have branches in the large cities and in smaller communities. Most banks are open from 8:30 am until 12 noon Sunday to Thursday, and 4–6pm on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. On Fridays and Jewish holiday eves, banks are open from 8:30 am until 12 noon. All banks are closed on Shabbat. Most of the large hotels have banks which often offer additional, more convenient hours.
Tourists who have State of Israel Bonds – whether in their name or transferred to them – may redeem them at any bank prior to their date of maturity for full nominal value plus interest. Payment will be made in local currency up to the equivalent of US $2,500 per month.
Tourists may open local currency accounts or special non-resident and foreign resident accounts at any bank.
Shekels can be converted back to foreign currency at Ben Gurion Airport banks, up to US $500 or its equivalent in other currencies. Any remaining shekels over this amount that were acquired during a single visit to Israel (up to a maximum of US $5,000) can be reconverted with bank receipts proving the original conversion of the foreign currency.