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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
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Americans in Israel Stranded as US Check Clearance Blocked

"Everyone is nervous."
American banks are not processing for clearance any checks coming from outside the U.S. A Jerusalem money changer believes this is yet one more result of the American government shutdown, entering its second day.

American banks are not processing for clearance any checks coming from outside the U.S. A Jerusalem money changer believes this is yet one more result of the American government shutdown, entering its second day.
Photo Credit: Abir Sultan/Flash 90

U.S. citizens staying in Israel have discovered this week that they are no longer able to get Israeli shekels in exchange for their checks which are drawn to U.S. banks.

Until this week, Israeli foreign exchange places would accept U.S. checks, at least from their regular customers, and would pay them out for a fee of 1 percent of their value. But this is no ,longer the case.

“The problem is with the check clearance process,” a Jerusalem money changer who asked to remain anonymous told The Jewish Press. “No one outside the U.S. is able to do check clearance. It’s an international problem, it’s not a problem only in Israel.”

American banks are not processing for clearance any checks coming from outside the U.S. The Jerusalem money changer believes this is yet one more result of the American government shutdown, which is into its second day.

“Normally, we scan the checks in the U.S. and pay the people over here,” he explained. Now the same process will be done by mail, will take six business days, and customers will be charged 2 percent.

This reporter, living in Israel, was able to make a regular payment into his U.S. credit card from his U.S. bank over the phone. But using one’s credit card for cash withdrawals abroad may now also present a problem.

“Everyone is nervous,” said the money changer, adding, “We’re working on a solution.”

He does not believe this will be a permanent problem. “They’ll figure it out,” he says.

According to the Herald Tribune, the Federal Reserve’s check-clearing service has not been shut down, and since the Reserve is an independent, self-financing agency, all of its operations will continue normally.

Federal Reserve Banks will continue to process checks and provide a mechanism for checks and funds to move between banks. But, apparently, while lending institutions will not suffer, individuals attempting to use their services—at least outside the U.S.—are not nearly as fortunate.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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20 Responses to “Americans in Israel Stranded as US Check Clearance Blocked”

  1. Gil Gilman says:

    The Federal Reserve is self financed just like Social Security, yet the CET continues to blame the national debt on old people who put their money into it for 50 years.

  2. Gil Gilman says:

    Yet Social Security IS in trouble because it has been borrowed from and mismanaged by your government.

  3. Rosa Alverio says:

    What a problem!

  4. Reb Yid says:

    Sounds like the banks and money changers are coming up with an excuse to charge higher fees.

  5. Tzadik Vanderhoof says:

    They should use bitcoins. Say a parent in the US is sending money to their child in Israel. The parent moves dollars from their bank account to bitcoin using something like coinbase.com . Then send the bitcoins from coinbase to the bitcoin address of someone in Israel who has listed themselves on localbitcoins.com that's in a location convenient to the child. Then the child meets them and gets the shekels.

  6. Shira Louis Yashin says:

    Last I checked, banks were not owned by the federal government, so why should the shutdown affect them?

  7. Paul Hatgil says:

    Does that also apply the tax money we send to Israel so they can payoff our congressmen??

  8. Edward Lobel says:

    Gil Gilman Gil, you are absolutely correct!

  9. Edward Lobel says:

    Gil Gilman Gil, you are absolutely correct!

  10. Anonymous says:

    My money changer here in Jerusalem DOES NOT have this problem.

  11. Menucha Monica Levin Landau says:

    Who is he? I need to know soon, thanks!

  12. Meira Yolanda Lettieri Kingberg says:

    We use our debit card to withdraw shekels from our US account. Some even give dollars but we can draw the equivalent amount of shekels for our daily limit.

  13. YaakovL says:

    Try e-checks. http://www.currencyave.com. This will solve your problem.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I used to do that but now my American bank charges at 2-3% foreign transaction fee for taking out the money from an Israeli bank and I think the Israeli bank also charges something. Plus Israeli banks don't always give as good an exchange rate as the money changing places. You need to pay close attention to how much it is costing you to use the Atm machine.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I used to do that but now my American bank charges at 2-3% foreign transaction fee for taking out the money from an Israeli bank and I think the Israeli bank also charges something. Plus Israeli banks don't always give as good an exchange rate as the money changing places. You need to pay close attention to how much it is costing you to use the Atm machine.

  16. Anonymous says:

    who do you use and when was the last time you went to him? I use Manhattan Exchange in Katamon on Argron. He didn't have the problem on September 30, but I haven't been since. Maybe this problem started October 1

  17. Its a mirage. More pressure from the Obozo administration to manipulate and control through his tyrannical dictatorship! !

  18. Lynn Marie Collver says:

    PRAY WITH ME FOR GOD'S PEOPLE !

  19. Hana Fogel says:

    We have until Monday to pay our rent or our landlady is threatening to change the locks and throw us in the street. What Happened? Why? We have been cashing checks for years, and in one minute, BOOM, we can't even buy groceries?

  20. Hana Fogel says:

    We have until Monday to pay our rent or our landlady is threatening to change the locks and throw us in the street. What Happened? Why? We have been cashing checks for years, and in one minute, BOOM, we can't even buy groceries?

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