Consumers in Israel will soon be able to open bank accounts online

Last week, the Banking Supervisor at the Bank of Israel (Israel's Central Bank) published a draft directive, regarding the option for members of the public to open new bank accounts via the Internet, without the need to be physically present at a bank branch. The move is expected to ease the transition hardships consumers often face when moving their bank account to a new bank, and increase competition in the banking sector. Subject to the directive's final approval, it is expected that Israeli banks will allow the opening of accounts online starting in July of this year. Such accounts will be opened through the bank’s website, where customers will be required to fill out their personal information and identify themselves to a bank representative, via a video chat, including presentation of two identification cards. The account will be activated upon the execution of a bank transfer from the old account bearing the customer’s name, to the new account. Only individuals 18 years of age and older would be allowed to open an account through this online mechanism, and online transactions will be limited, for now, to 10,000 NIS in cash (approximately 2,900 US Dollars), with the account balance at the end of any business day not to exceed 300,000 NIS (approximately 87,000 US Dollars). These restrictions will be lifted upon the customer’s first physical appearance at the bank branch. Source: TheMarker (In Hebrew, by: Sivan Aizescu).