Due to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines, and in view of the reduction of in-person services at branches, the Banking Supervision Department is acting to find solutions that will help in protecting customers’ health and that will enable remote execution of transactions to the extent possible. As part of this, the Banking Supervision Department is working so that the banks will issue debit cards to customers, which they can use to withdraw cash from ATMs and make purchases at merchants and remotely (via Internet or phone), similar to a credit card. Following is a link to information on debit cards at the Bank of Israel “Worth Knowing” website. In addition, the Banking Supervision Department is working to ease customers’ joining e-banking services, which avoid the need to arrive at the branch.

Dr. Hedva Ber, the Supervisor of Banks, said, “The Banking Supervision Department is working to enable the continuity of critical banking services at this time and is focusing on providing solutions for various situations caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The step of issuing a debit card to customers who do not have a credit card and having them join banking services that can be received remotely will increase the number of customers who can execute account transactions without arriving at the branch and will help in maintaining the public’s health.”

The Banking Supervision Department calls on the banking corporations to make every effort to locate their customers who manage accounts in which a salary or allowance is received and who do not have a credit card or debit card or who are not connected to activity via direct channels (bank website, application) and to offer them to join these services.

Customers who do not own any card whatsoever that allows them to withdraw funds and to carry out transactions remotely and/or provide them with access to executing transactions remotely via the Internet, are urged to contact their bank and request to join such services.

With the goal of enabling the banking corporations to issue cards to customers who do not have one, and who tend to carry out transactions in the account via a teller at a branch, the Banking Supervision Department last week removed significant barriers, for this time:

1.    Banks were granted a permit to send a notice to their customers via e-banking channels (application, SMS via phone, etc.) offering them to join such services and to guide them how to carry this out, even if the customer has not signed the agreement required for that. In addition, in order to assist customers who do not have a debit card to get through this period, the banking corporations may send them notices via these channels in order to offer to issue a debit card for them.

2.    In collaboration with the Association of Banks in Israel, a framework for National Insurance allowance recipients was formulated, under which the banks will issue debit cards to those customers. The cards will be sent to them by mail. In parallel, the customers will be sent an agreement with the bank for receiving the card. The customers will be requested to sign the agreement. Likewise, it will be made clear to the customers that they are to sign the agreement before activating the card, and they will be requested to provide the signed agreement or a copy thereof soon, and not later than November 1, 2020. To the extent that such a signed agreement is not received by that date, the debit card will expire. We also announced that the framework that was formulated for allowance recipients will apply at this time on sending any payment card ordered by the customers.

3.    It is possible to agree to an e-banking contract via telephone—it is possible to sign an e-banking agreement through a range of direct channels, while documenting the customer’s agreement (even without recording the conversation). This will also make things easier for customers interested in doing so to join remote banking activity extremely easily, to the extent they are interested in doing so.

4.    The banks were guided to allow the issuance of a debit card to insolvent customers and have them join a service that allows the execution of transactions via the bank’s Internet site, application, etc., without needing the approval of the trustee, for any particular request. This is based on the stance of the official receiver who has given blanket approval to this. This step will make the process of insolvent customers joining these services much easier, to the extent they want to do so.​