Process to reduce fees for small and micro businesses
The Banking Supervision Department announces a process to reduce fees for small and micro businesses
Dr. Hedva Ber, the Supervisor of Banks, said, “It is important to the Banking Supervision Department to make things easier for small businesses. The step we have announced, of moving them to a fixed fee track, will lead to a reduction in the bank fees that they pay. This step comes in addition to the reduction in acquiring fees for credit cards that is expected to go into effect in January 2019, against the background of an additional reduction in the interchange fee as announced by the Banking Supervision Department and the enhancement of competition in the acquiring market. This is all to ensure, among other things, that the benefits of increased competition and technological changes in the banking system are generally rolled over to the banks’ customers as well, and this step is part of this policy. I urge small business owners to monitor their consumer rights, and to use the range of tools available to them to help them reduce costs and manage their banking activity in a more independent and informed manner.”
To provide easing for small businesses, the Banking Supervision Department acted to define for them current-account fee tracks, at fixed prices, that will reduce the total amount they pay and will also be more certain, with the pricing for the broad basket of activities and not for each individual transaction. Over time, the need arose to take an active step so that small businesses would benefit from the advantages of the fee tracks. This need was raised by Adv. Roi Cohen, president of Lahav–the Israeli Chamber of Independent Organizations and Businesses, and also arose in the Banking Supervision Department’s ongoing monitoring of participation figures from the day the fee tracks service was launched, which remain low, despite many steps that were taken to increase the public’s awareness.
Today, the Banking Supervision Department announced that they are to identify all the small businesses that can save by switching to the relevant fee track, and to send them a notice of their switch to that track. This step is being carried out pursuant to the Directive issued by the Banking Supervision Department in November 2017, which required the banks to send a letter to every small business informing it of the amount it could save by switching to the appropriate fee track, but there was very little response by the small businesses. To date, only approximately 4,000 small businesses switched at their initiative to the fee track, so the Banking Supervision Department decided on this proactive measure.
According to the data provided by the banks, the step will save a total of approximately NIS 40 billion for about 160,000 small businesses with revenue of up to NIS 5 million, and for authorized employers. These figures mean a savings of hundreds of shekels per month for each small business. The step is expected to go into force in the beginning of 2019.
It should be noted that an examination by the Bank of Israel indicates that the expanded fee track is the most appropriate for most small businesses and authorized employers. This track includes up to 50 customer-executed transactions (meaning via the bank’s website, application, ATMs, digital stand in a branch, etc.), and up to 10 teller-executed transactions. In the expanded fee track, a small business pays a fixed monthly amount of NIS 20 to NIS 30 (depending on the bank), and does not pay a separate fee for each transaction carried out.
For example, a typical small business that each month carries out 38 customer-executed activities (25 cash deposits, 4 credits from the acquirer, 4 check deposits, 5 payments to suppliers) will pay, on average, NIS 64 each month. In contrast, under the expanded fee track it will only pay NIS 24, thus saving about NIS 480 per year!
 Based on the average in the fee schedule of the large banks of the cost of a customer-executed transaction and of the expanded fee track.